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The Grand Cartographic Journal

Iocathe frowned. "Rejected? My account of the Korr is, as far as I can tell, complete. The Journal is obligated to publish my findings, as a Prime Cartographer in good standing."   The man behind the desk rubbed his temples, his spectacles bouncing on the bridge of his nose. "Iocathe, you are as aware as anyone that your expedition to Korr held political ramifications. This account cannot be published yet, not until the treaty with the Korr is signed." He looked up at her from his seat. "All of that stuff with the Princeps and the conspiracy with the Windhaven? None of that can ever see print. We'll have you published in the Grand Cartographic next season, but with all of that edited out."   Iocathe was tapping her left toes in a silent fury. "Edited out? Is that the standard of academic excellence the Cartographers adhere to, in this modern era of Progress?" She pulled her insignia out, the compass and sextant gleaming in the sunlight filtering through the window. "Show me where on my guildmark where the truth the Cartographers reveal must be suborned to the desires of the Principality."   "When serious harm can result." The man sighed. "I understand your frustration, but I am under specific direction from the Hall of the Princeps on this matter. The nature of the attack on the Korr must *never be known*. People can *die* if that information leaks. Iocathe, you knew that when the Princeps ordered the assassination you describe in your account. Did you think people would be just perfectly fine if they knew that was how Constantine resolved political issues?"   Iocathe's voice was so low she was nearly hissing through her teeth. "Perhaps the people need to know this. Numidine was a bastard and needed to die, I have no qualms about the nature of his death, but my job as a Cartographer is to provide a complete and accurate picture of what I saw and heard. My professional conscience is absolutely clear on this."   "And my job is to protect you and every other Cartographer of the guild. I cannot do that if we choose to publish skullduggery and tales of sheathed knives." The man blinked. "You have done everything asked of you and more. Just allow me to do what is asked of me, and keep the original copy to your own archives. Perhaps that will be safe to publish in a future Journal, once everyone involved is safely in the dirt.


The Grand Cartographic Journal is the academic journal of record of the Cartographer's Guild. Published three times a season, each journal issue compiles the reports of all active Cartographers as well as sufficiently interesting explorations of non-affiliated explorers. It is intended to be a primary source document for future compilation of all known geographic and cultural knowledge of most known and mapped areas of Saibh, both within and external to the Principality of Etoile.   Once a year, an authoritative map of record of all Saibh is published within the journal, part of the Cartographer's Guild mandate to provide an up to date atlas of the world to the general public.

Document Structure

Publication Status

The Journal is published regularly by The Academy of Etoile, which maintains the archive of all back issues of the Journal stretching back to its very first issue in 633. This resource has proven invaluable for historical research and analysis, as the Cartographers are trained in recording and reporting nearly every aspect of the areas in which they travel and observe.

Historical Details


While the exercise of cartography does predate the Principality of Etoile, accurate and up to date maps were costly to create and jealously guarded by whatever entity commissioned the work, with pre-Etoilean petty kings and pirate lords valuing their maps more than the lives under their command. This changed after the Principality was established; the First Princeps believed that having accurate maps widely available would promote societal progress. The Cartographer's Guild was chartered after the conclusion of The War of Unification, and the first issue of the Journal was published in Third Season, 633, with that first world map in that issue quickly spreading to the hands of any interested.


While the maps themselves were of political and economic interest (what with maps being an inherently political tool, according to Kadwyn Rivant of the Academy), many published accounts in the Grand Cartographic have sparked societal change. The most notable example of this are the Nuo-Iwa, a people that had largely ended up fully assimilating into Etoilean society and abandoning their cultural roots. The Cartographer that traveled and visited the abandoned Nuo-Iwa villages deep on the Avancirs recovered a treasure trove of artifacts of anthropological and sociological interest, to a degree that prompted the creation of a Nuo-Iwa revivalist movement in the Etoile Capital City. In many ways, the Cartographers are the eyes and ears of the Principality in a social sense (as opposed to a military or intelligence framing), and their observations have spurred many to action in various ways.

Public Reaction

Apart from the relatively ordinary business of publishing Cartographic accounts, the fact that the Grand Cartographic allows private parties to submit their own explorations for review and publishing has resulted in a number of amateur explorers wandering the world looking for stories they can relate in the Cartographic. Even rejected accounts (typically due to lack of academic interest) tend to do quite well in other, less academic-focused journals, and a cottage industry of 'explorations and adventures' serials has sprung up ancillary to the Grand Cartographic itself.


In many ways, the Grand Cartographic is the fulfillment of one of the ideals of Progress, which is the uplifting of regular Etoileans and allowing everyone to learn and understand more of the world around them. In lieu of each and every person exploring all of the world, the Cartographer's Guild and it's Journal attempt to bring the world to each Etoilean. Even the partial accomplishment of this lofty goal has helped create multiple generations of people who, if not themselves explorers, embrace the concept of exploration, in both the physical and societal aspects. Kadwyn Rivant, Social Researcher of The Academy of Etoile, credits the Journal with possibly doing the most of any Principality initiative to entrench the ideas and ideals of Progress in the mind of the ordinary Etoilean.
Journal, Scientific

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6 Aug, 2022 21:49

The intro to this article is perfect: it made me care about Cartographers and their journalistic integrity. That went a long way to motivating me to read the dryer exposition regarding the Grand Cartographic Journal. Well played!

8 Aug, 2022 09:41

Thanks! It's a trick I use for a lot of 'mundane' worldbuilding, though it has its limits.

28 Aug, 2022 02:00

Awarding you the Kitsune Approved badge for your excellent document article!

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Author of the Liminal Chronicles urban fantasy series | vssCollab very short story prompts | Author Website