Bryn headed for the table in the center of the library and fiddled with a latch of some kind. Inching around Bryn to get a better look, Luis noticed it was actually some kind of lever that opened a compartment on top of the table's surface.
Gripping the opening that formed, Bryn lifted two wooden panels in the center of the table, revealing something that had been locked underneath.
Hopping up onto the side of the table, Luis' eyes widened when he saw what was hidden.
A world map... There was no mistaking it.
There was a circle with arrows in the bottom right corner that likely signified the four cardinal directions, and in the center was a green landmass with various landmarks and features.
Someone had drawn a map of what Luis assumed to be the world into the center portion of the library's table. A nice touch... Luis was eagerly scanning said table to gather insights into the landscape. Bryn's chuckle echoed from the side at Finn's eagerness.
"This is the world, or what has been mapped of it..." Bryn gave an initial explanation. Luis leaned upwards, almost standing on two legs, to get a more aerial view. His new Earth was a single massive landmass which made Luis think of Pangaea.
It had an overall fat, oval shape, with the longer portion going east to west. The edges of the landmass were very broken and uneven, with a chunk missing from the lower left portion, looking as if it had been crunched off.
Plate tectonics? Luis wondered how much this world was affected by similar geological phenomena, or how old it was for that matter. Surrounding all sides of the continent was blue wavy inscriptions, which Luis assumed to be this world's oceans.
The map looked like any other from home, with differing elevations and levels of green and blue. However, there was a distinct lack of detail of any terrain past the forest that resided in the center, with only a few notable exceptions.
Other than a large mountain range, the southern desert, and the northern tundra, everything west of the center forest landmark was gray, which obviously meant uncharted terrain. Or maybe an updated version hadn't been brought here... Luis couldn't be certain.
The major points that Luis noted on the map were the southern desert, central forest, a northern arctic, and a rather large body of water nestled near the middle of the right portion of the landmass. A massive lake... Luis was reminded of the great lakes back home.
The lowest portion of the map was sand colored, and it extended along the majority of the bottom of world, like a jagged smile. On the reverse side, the northern arctic or tundra extended across in the same way, like a jagged frown.
They were intersected by a massive forest running straight down through the entire landmass, from the tip of the arctic to the bottom of the desert. Looking closer, Luis saw that it was titled 'The Border Forest.'
Border to what? What lies beyond these massive woods? The little explorer in him was already itching to know. It didn't help that Bryn's adventurous spirit had been slowly rubbing off on him.
Luis found this forest landmark very strange. It was like someone had created a very large wall of trees straight through the center of the continent.
It was completely straight and had a set width the entire way, appearing almost perfectly shaped. It even cut the 'smile' of the desert and the 'frown' of the tundra in half.
A desert and frozen tundra don't just abruptly become forests... Luis wondered how such bizarre topography came to be. The landmass itself looked far too... symmetrical, with the perfect wall of trees adding to this feeling
This border forest essentially split the continent into an eastern and western hemisphere. Based on how the eastern side was very detailed, Luis assumed he was somewhere on the eastern portion of the continent.
The lake in the upper right had countless little streams and rivers branching off of it, going across the eastern portion of the continent.
It was like the lake was a heart and the rivers and streams the arteries and veins. Luis felt like rubbing his face in disbelief.
Despite already knowing, actually seeing physical proof was still quite a shock. If this was truly how the earth looked now, then it most definitely was not Earth.
Tilting his head, Luis began to wonder what that scale of this earth was. Wait, now that I'm thinking about it... Luis only now fully grasped that he was indeed on a new planet, most likely... ugh.
Luis wanted to groan in annoyance. The only real differences he noticed at first were the people and culture, but now that he was thinking about it...
He remembered the days to be similar in length, with a sunrise and sunset as the classic method of time keeping. Bryn also described four distinct seasons that they used to keep track of the time of year.
Wait... I don't recall seeing a moon. Luis had noticed this early on when he gazed at the sky, but it was such a minor detail in the grand scheme of everything else going on that he simply forgot. This resurfaced forgotten memory stirred up a storm in his head.
Are there high and low tides on the coast? Is gravity the same? Is the day exactly twenty-four hours? How many days in a year? This new train of thought had questions popping into his head left and right.
Bryn returned, Luis not even noticing he left, and slapped something on the table. This action derailed the runaway train in Luis' mind. Luis shook his head, shoving these currently unanswerable questions aside.
I guess I will just focus on here and now, on what actually matters... Luis licked Bryn across the face, eliciting a laugh from the boy. He playfully shoved Luis' head away, pointing to the paper he had plopped down.
"That map shows the world, while this one shows the five kingdoms..." He explained with a beaming smile.
Bryn had placed the new paper map atop the table map, aligning them together. The paper map displayed new features and special icons. One look and Luis could tell the difference. This must be a political map...
Instead of displaying forests, streams, and elevation, this new map showed roads, cities, towns, regions, and notable locations. The only similarities between the two maps were the massive lake and the Border Forest, likely because they also helped define political borders.
According to this map, the entirety of the eastern hemisphere was controlled by five kingdoms, who's territories were labled and color coded. The Grimshire Kingdom, the Oriol Kingdom, the Feten Dynasty, the Samsara Council, and the Border States.
The first three sounded like typical kingdom-esque style lands ruled by a hereditary king or emperor. The other two however, had unique sounding titles. Samsara Council? Border States? These sound interesting...
Luis was becoming intrigued. If this is truly a new world, I wonder what kinds of different and interesting cultures are out there... Luis was beginning to truly understand how Bryn felt.
He was also beginning to feel an itch to see the world. After all, it would be just as new and exciting for him as it would be for Bryn.
Luis pointed at the map with his claw, then pointed to himself and Bryn. "Are you trying to ask where we are?" Bryn was getting better at understanding the subtle intentions behind Luis' gestures.
Nodding in affirmation, Bryn pointed to a spot near the middle of the map. It was very close to the border forest. "We live in the center most border state, Brexin. The jewel of the thirteen border states!" Bryn spoke with a nationalistic pride.
Interesting, so we live in Brexin, which is a border state? I wonder what type of government rules the Samsara Council and Border States. The 'Council' in Samara Council implies a senatorial ruling? Luis began to construct theories based solely off the names.
The distribution of territory on the map was quite simple. The territories collectively known as the Border States were simply thirteen individuals... Republics? Kingdoms? I guess I'll have to wait for further clarification. I'll just consider them states... Luis decided.
These thirteen states ran parallel to the border forest, from the arctic at the north to the desert in the south. Each state was roughly the same size, coming out to about thirteen equal, semi-rectangular chunks of territory.
Each state bordered the Border Forest, where their drawn border lines ended, and each state was adjacent to another. They were like a chain link fence, sealing the entire eastern hemisphere off from the Border Forest.
The only exceptions to this rule were the northernmost and southernmost states, which bordered their respective oceans.
I guess that's why they're called Border States... Luis concluded from examining the map. He wondered what the political world dynamic was. How did each of these kingdoms interact with each other.
The other kingdoms were much more straightforward. In summary, it was like the rest of the land past the border states was divided into three strips, one at the top, one in the middle, and one at the bottom.
The top strip was the Oriol Kingdom. It contained a majority of the arctic region as well as a sizable portion of woodlands and mountainous regions.
The Fenten Dynasty controlled the middle strip, filled with huge plains and smaller pockets of forest.
The Samsara Council held the bottom strip, which included the majority of the desert and some parts of the grasslands.
The odd one out was the Grimshire Kingdom. It was substantially smaller than the other four territories, and was nestled in the top right corner. It consisted of majority arctic regions and some woodlands. There was a single large mountain range at its back.
The Grimshire Kingdom, Oriol Kingdom, and Fenten Dynasty all had their borders connected to the massive lake. There was one thing odd though, the lake and oceans had no name. Is it because each kingdom has it's own name for them? Luis guessed.
Just by looking at the map, Luis could sense a deep political history that formed these territories, especially the Border States. The fact that they so uniformly shielded the other eastern territories from the Border Forest... There must be an interesting backstory behind it.
"Finn, let's go home..." Bryn nudged Luis out of his musings. Wait just a moment! Why does he want to leave now! He said he would explain everything here... Luis felt aggrieved at this.
Without words or human facial expressions, it was quite difficult to express more detailed emotions. All Luis could do to express his sense of betrayal was growl and nudge Bryn to the bookcases. It was as if to say "Not yet! Teach me more!" in gesture form.
Bryn, understanding Luis' frustration, chuckled apologetically. "Sorry buddy, I was hoping to use the bestiary to help me explain. Turns out it's already been borrowed... Luis stopped to glance at the podium he remembered from last time.
As Bryn said, the podium was empty, taunting Luis with its broken promise of coveted knowledge. Luis couldn't help it. He pouted, despite himself. Collapsing to the floor, he turned away from Bryn.
"Aww, don't be like that Finn!" Bryn tried to console Luis, who ignored him. Bryn walked in front of Luis' face to meet his eyes. Luis averted his own. Bryn kept moving his head to make eye contact with Luis. Luis just closed his eyes.
As a last resort, Bryn hugged the large lizard and started scratching at the base of his neck, in the sweet spot.
...That's cheating... Luis relented, relaxing into the blissful scratching. "I'm sorry buddy, I was going to use the bestiary to help explain some stuff to you. Since we can't use it, I'll just have to do my best on the way home. At least outside by ourselves, you can ask all the questions you want...
This is true... It wasn't like Luis enjoyed destroying furniture by scratching questions into it.
I'm too lenient with this punk... Luis stood back up, gesturing to his back.
Get on... One of the easiest things Luis could convey. Bryn obliged, and the duo made their way out of the guild and out of the town, heading towards home.