Welcome to the next installement of my design notes on Milly, the story of a girl in a strange and magical land. This time, I’ll talk about the Swamp Province, Herghkl. First up, that name. I wanted to add whimsy and fun, so I thought about making something unpronounceable would be a good idea. I have no idea if that is the case or not. But the way I pronounce it in my head is Her-gekkle with a bit of a throat sound at the ‘ge’ part.
I am not sure why, but I’ve always been drawn to boardwalks over pools of water, so that’s why I made Herghkl that way. Though the more I think about it, the more I feel Herghkl is more suitable to being the marsh province as it is should be deeper. But I really liked making the imagery for it with trees that have roots above the ground, lights off in the distance, and tiki torches lining the wooden path.
I didn’t go much into the fauna living there, but imagine the magical version of toads, alligators and stuff. I’ll talk more about the people and animals living there next time.
The part I like best about Herghkl is the border, about how the water is just stopped by some magical force. But it is possible to swim through it, so I’d be careful.
The villages of Herghkl are all built on stilts to be above the water. Many places have private fishing holes, which are basically holes in the floor. If you could imagine World of Warcraft, the Burning Crusade, there was a zone called Zangarmarsh. I wanted Herghkl to look a lot like a brighter, friendlier version of that, villages included.
As for the wawaks, the race living in Herghkl, I think I did them partially based on the creatures in the Dark Crystal mixed with lizards. I did want to show that all of them were friendly and inviting people, even the old and grumpy ones. It was deliberate to not make them cute while still maintaining them as good and caring.
Oh, about the ruins in the mountains at the edge of the province? They’re just ruins from the time when the provinces were warring. Nothing more, really. At least I haven’t come up with anything.
Out of the provinces I’ve made so far, between the first two books, Herghkl is definitely my favorite. I’d like to add in some giant swamp monster if I ever return to Herghkl. Heh.