The Seine Geographic Location in The True Dark Ages | World Anvil

The Seine

The River of the Franks

by Paul Passy
The Seine is a 483 mile long river in Frankia. Such as it is, it passes through Parisius (and the infamous Slinky Seine tavern), emptying into the Parisius Basin, and eventually making it's way north to sea and a lowland region in the north of Frankia. The name comes from the Gaulish word Sēquana, a Celtic Gallo-Roman word for the goddess of the river. It is the third largest river controlled by the Franks, used by the Thieves of Frankia, and have a few local legends attached to it in certain stretches.


The Seine rises 19 miles north east of Dijon where it is referred to as the Source Seine, in the Langres Plateau. It empties out at Le Havre, with Honfleur on the east bank. It is deep enough to be travelled by sea-going vessels as fat as Rouen, working out about 75 miles inland. From there 60% of the Seine can be used by nearly every type of boat with a smaller sheer, up to the region of Burgundy.   Around the banks are rocky terrain around the head waters, leading to a mix of forest, swamp, plains, and farmland around the majority of the length. Many small hamlets & villages are at the edges & on the tributaries. Larger settlements of towns and cities are found as well (Parisius is the most well-known). Some islands are also present in the middle of the river too, and sometimes utilised by local creatures.


The Seine has effectively a tidal estuary at its mouth. It can have a tendency to flood in places during times of intense rainy periods too. Since it largely flows over lowland, it brings many nutrients from the Langres Plateau down to the surrounding land. This makes for ideal farming in many areas, as well as a good source of potable water. A few places have swampy regions, and some forests are found on it's banks helping to stabilise parts of the banks.   Plenty of fish & insects grow in or on the river, and can easily travel a good length up it. Salmon and trout are common staples found here, coming up the estuary to spawn. Eels too. Insects make use of many of the shallower and/or calmer parts helping to feed the fish. Water plants native to the region are found the whole length with fewer found at the Source Seine head waters. Birds take advantage of small islands to nest, or along the banks, with many preying on the insects that grow there. A few, like herons, and mammalian predators take advantage too of the river, such as otters, and the odd cave bear & brown bear in isolated parts feeding on the fish or any birds they can catch.   The Seine itself brings many of it's nutrients from it's head waters where wind, rain & snow help to break up the rocky plateau. Much of this runs into the river, and it itself breaks up & picks up sediment & detritus of the river bed. Flowing on down to the river basin it picks up mud and plant material, that helps disperse this along the whole length of the Seine. With the farmland in places along the banks, and the settlements too, excrement and other detritus are washed in to it making up other nutrients along with what is there to begin with.   Sometimes dead animals & plants make their way into it too, adding further a further nutrient source. These are fed on by microbes, plants, and animals like fish. Breaking down these bodies helps to spread the component parts far & wide as well.

Ecosystem Cycles

Because of the region it is situated in, the Seine is affected heavily by the four seasons. It drops somewhat starting in late spring, though the summer, and into early autumn. From there it rises again in late autumn when the rain comes, parts of it freezing in calmer lengths when winter hits, and eventually returning again in early spring. Flooding can occur during particularly heavy rains, and if there is very heavy snowfall on the Langres Plateau.   Many animals will make use of the river all year round, even crossing it in parts that are frozen, such as deer, foxes, otters, goats and the like. Some like the cave/brown bears will hibernate during the winter months, and give birth on time to rouse to start feeding their cubs. Many of the insects will die off by early winter, with the eggs ready laid for the thaw of spring. Salmon & trout, and others like eels, will travel back from the sea during late spring / early summer, to start travelling back up. The former two will then spawn in time to allow for their young to make it back down before the cold of winter kills them.

Localized Phenomena

Flooding and freezing are most common phenomena to occur with the Seine. Too much rain and/or snow at the head waters will overflow on down damaging settlements & farmland. Some parts, such as swamps & the like, welcome this and it can even be beneficial for farming bring nutrients into the ground. It also allows for any rubbish that builds up in the Seine in stretches passing through settlements to clear these away.   Freezing weather can build up layers of ice on the Seine, and some parts it can be thick enough to cross without any other method.   One unusual phenomena around the city of Parisius & the Seine. Many of the locals, especially of the dock workers, fishermen, and others who are on the river in general, report that they have regularly encountered a mysterious boat named "The Bawdy". It seems to be a physical ship modified to work the waters of the Seine in & around Parisius. Most of the reports speak of the ship being defended by militia on the ship & in boats around it. Livery seems unique in that it takes on aspects of the local Frankish & Parisius noble banners. It seems to be quiet during the day, and at night hooded people are took by boat out to the ship.   When they do, a party seems to start, and within a few hours in full swing. The majority consensus is that it is a special brothel only operated for & by the elite of the city. Exactly what it is like inside is unknown as no-one can get close to it. Even the outside of the ship is well-kept and made out of expensive materials.   Many aquatic creatures are rumoured to be in the Seine such as merfolk, merrow, sea elves and sahuagin. Many water spirits are linked too to certain spots, especially in parts notorious for drownings. Many locals living on the banks, or making a living on the waters, will rarely talk about these beings. Nearly all believe in the Fey, believing that to talk about them or even mentioning any names will bring bad luck to themselves or their business, so avoid it where possible. Known drowning spots are also avoided with many believing that the restless dead dwell there, along with the creatures that drowned them.

Fauna & Flora

Atlantic salmon are a constant source of fish found in the Seine, and sometimes trout & eels along with fish such as pike. Mayflies & dragonflies are common, found along the banks or playing on the surface of the water. Leeches can be found as well in parts of the banks, as well as some types of spiders. Freshwater weeds of many types grow in the depth of the river, and reeds & some willow trees grow on the banks.   Many surrounding animals including livestock will come to the banks to drinks. Cattle, goats (farmed & wild), sheep, foxes, lynx, pigs and boars all use it for this purpose. Otters and voles use the river too to hunt. Badgers will use it as a water source. Birds of all types can be found preying on the fish or insects, with the likes of the heron and kingfisher being spotted regularly. Cave bears & brown bears sometimes will come down to both drink, and catch fish if they can.   Farmland & the odd vinyard is found on or near the banks making use of the mud & water from the Seine to improve their crop yield too.   A good amount of other fish live in the Seine including the following: bigmouth buffalo, black bullhead, black crappie, blacknose dace, blackside darter, brook stickleback, brown bullhead, burbot, carp, central mudminnow, channel catfish, common shiner, emerald shiner, fathead minnow, freshwater drum, golden redhorse, goldeye, johnny darter, longnose dace, northern pike, pearl dace, quillback sucker, rock bass, sauger, shorthead redhorse sucker, spottail shiner, tadpole madtom, trout perch, walleye, white sucker, and yellow perch. Frogs and toads are found up & down the length of it too.   There are rumours of merfolk, sea elves, merrows, and sahuagin being seen the odd time in different parts of the Seine, especially at the estuary. Some swear that they have seen some of these way on up near the head waters. The boat crews & fishermen that use the river rarely if ever mention these creatures in the off-chance they attract the wrong type of attention, partly due to old superstitions concerning water spirits.   Rarely, Griffons, Hippogriffs, and the odd Unicorn is spotted drinking from it, though all are skittish, fleeing if approached.

Natural Resources

Water and fish is the direct resources that are got from the rive Seine. The former is used as and when the local inhabitants need to use it, and most don't give it a second thought. Fishing is an important part for locals, including the use of boats & nets to get large catches, as well as getting to parts of the Seine that they can't from the banks.   The Seine has one natural resource many don't think off at first, and it is the river itself. Because of the dimensions of it, it is large enough for boats and specific types of ships to sail up it. This allows for produce, goods (such as timber, ores, and general trade goods) to be took by boat up and down easier, and in some cases safer, between settlements. It can also be dammed too if an enterprising local leader needs to, to flood an area to flush out enemy troops, or make a makeshift moat around a location.   Piracy sometimes takes place especially round the estuary and up the river to a degree. The Seine's depth here allows ships up it to a degree, and allows smaller boats up further. By doing this, the pirates can escape pretty quickly to sea before local authorities can mount a defence & repel them. Also, the Thieves of Frankia make use of this natural resource to smuggle people & goods, in & out of towns and cities like Parisius, where speed is of the essence, and the militia find it harder to tackle.   One important industry found along the Seine, especially in Parisius, is tanneries & dyers that produce goods for sale or to be used in other industries. Also, some smaller towns & villages use it to make linen, though this is generally smaller in terms of production.


The Seine is an ancient river and one of the largest in Europe, and the third largest that the Franks have in at least parts of their empire. The city of Parisius, along with Burgundy, are built on it. The former has been in constant use for centuries if not longer, first with it's islands being used by the Parisii Celtic tribe using the area well before the Romans arrived. The Romans took over the townland there as their own, and built other ports too, allowing for travel up and down the river.   Eventually the Romans fell, and the Franks took over the region and came into possession of the Seine as a whole. They themselves make good use of the river, even if it is not as long or as wide as the Danube or Rhine.   It has proved useful too for many early peoples to travel not just down, but also as far as the sea reaching coastal regions.
"The Seine. What can I say? Not as impressive as some of the Volga, or the Danube, or even the Rhine. Still, a more peaceful river than those. At least it has a major player in the Franks controlling it. The rest? Well, likely get raided, killed, or worse at times for good stretches of them. And it's got excellent wine all the way too. Can't complain about that, or the fish. Stick your hand it, wait for the nibbles, and you've got five good salmon to eat for the night! Yet for all of it, you have the majesty of Parisius too. Every time I go there, you got to visit the Slinky Seine, best place for a sailor to go. Wine, food, women, and plenty too."   Captain de 'Fleur, of the transport ship The Belle of the Ball.
"Have ye heard of the witches hole, son? No? Well ye b'tter get to know it. Up close to ther rocks juttin' out from below the bridge outta ta water. Story gose a witch was found in the local community. Not a Cunnin Folk, a witch like. Cast spells, summoned a rivinant to prey on ta livin. The locals got a couple of the Cunnin Folk together, an' a priest from the church. Judged ta witch there an' then. Hung 'er from the bridge from ta rafters below. Runnin' water an' all, wash away 'er magic an' all. Diddin' stop 'er shitting 'erself though, the 'anging. Dropped down an' formed those rocks. Cursed that bit. Ye 'ave to say a prayer before an' affer crossing that bridge. Stop the ghoulies of the Seine 'at helped 'er commin' back up out an' snatchin' ye.   Most still dinny know aboot that, an' most fishers avoid that part. No fishies regularly, and shoals regularly found dead floatin' in an' around those stones. A few boats go near it, those that do, crash an'/or found adrift crewless afterwards. Also, strange shapes arr seen there at times, jus' below the surface, humanoid in shape, and strange alluring songs. Don't forget the balls of light at night-time, on the Eves of ta year. Some vanish or drown then, always got strange burns & chest filled wey water ta boot.   That's me warnin' son, stay away from da Witches Bridge & Witches Rocks. And just nort' of here, aboot five miles or so. Don't believe me? Ask any old timer 'ere in ta Slinky Seine."   'Old Brandy' Fitzsimons, regular patron of the Slinky Seine, retelling the same story he tells to all new patrons of that 'fine' establishment. Always half drunk on strong wine and liquor, the Halfling was once a fisherman on the Seine until some 'incident' involving strong spirits. Exactly what type of strong spirits is another story for another time of the day.......
Location under
Included Locations
Ruling/Owning Rank
Owning Organization
Parisius on the Seine

Cover image: by Robert Macauley Stevenson (1854 - 1952)


Please Login in order to comment!
May 12, 2022 12:44 by Dimitris Havlidis

Incredible work!

World Anvil Founder & Chief Grease Monkey
Twitter | World Anvil Changelog
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” - Aesop

May 12, 2022 13:01 by Darren McHaffie

Had to do some reading to get that done. Still think it could be fiddled & fleshed out a bit.

May 16, 2022 20:23 by Mikael Jokela

It is spooky how well you brought this river together with your world! In a sense, it reminded me the feeling of discovering H.P Lovecrafts work for the first time and seeing him cross-reference real life literature with the Necronomicon and going "Wait, is that an actual book?"   I really love the mysticism you've included in the quote! I am quite intrigued of your world!

May 16, 2022 21:09 by Darren McHaffie

Why thank you. It's good to see someone finally picking up my constant odes to Lovecraft (and in a few cases others (hint hint Clive Barker in some articles)) I've done an entry somewhere here of the Necronomicon too, lol. And the Book of Eibon, and the King in Yellow....   Could go on but I'd have enough for another article here, haha.

May 17, 2022 08:09 by Mikael Jokela

Haha! I've noticed that Lovecraft is somewhat of a forbidden word on this site, so might be also because of that...   Regardless, wonderful work! Do you write stories based around Lovecraft mythos, or do you GM games around the subject?

May 17, 2022 11:35 by Darren McHaffie

It's kinda sad he's been relegated to the role of racist. Product of his time & what I read about him probably a bit of neurosis there too.   I GM D&D games with it. Got to have some type of Big Bad there in the background.

May 16, 2022 22:33 by Michael Chandra

I want to hunt, I mean, hug a unicorn... o,o

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
May 16, 2022 23:36 by Darren McHaffie

Hug it? I wanna hunt it & use it's horn as a toothpick, lol.

May 23, 2022 17:18

Well written and filled with information! Also liked the mix with fantasy elements. Nice read!

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
May 23, 2022 17:40 by Darren McHaffie

Well thank you.

Jun 7, 2022 09:31 by Andy Staples

This is superb. I love the blend of thorough research and atmospheric invention.

Jun 7, 2022 16:08 by Darren McHaffie

Got to get the research in to keep it grounded, lol. Well, as long it's not like Star Trek and it's techno babble that is.....   And a big thanks too!!!

Jul 18, 2022 01:38 by Eliora Yona

Oh my! This is REALLY good! Keep up the great words!

Jul 18, 2022 16:32 by Darren McHaffie

Thank you very much.