Welcome to the Fortress

Author’s Commentary: Paragons 1.2.1

Let’s talk about setting!

In Episode 2 of Paragons, the action moves from Bayshore (real-world, present-day equivalent: Bay Area, California) to the Fortress, where the rest of the book takes place. So where on Earth is the Fortress anyway?

The image above is one hint. Here’s another one from Savannah:

We’d traveled 12,000 kilometers in an instant.

Savannah Winters

"The White Knight" (Paragons 1.2.1)

12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) is roughly the distance from the San Francisco Bay Area to Sydney.

The Fortress is in Australia, in the Greater Sydney area, though of course the Post-Curse Fortress is a little different than modern-day Sydney.

Savannah describes the Fortress thus:

We were inside the Fortress now, the largest city on Gaia . . . The Fortress is actually a cluster of many towns, built like a honeycomb. Each town is surrounded by a wall. Movement between the towns is heavily restricted. The only way in or out is through controlled checkpoints.

Savannah Winters

"The White Knight" (Paragons 1.2.1)

Specifically, Savannah enters the Fortress through the Spirit Tree in the Interchange, a small but vitally-important city district.

There’s actually a real place called the Interchange in Chatswood, which includes the train station, shops, and restaurants. I lived near here for a few months when I first moved to Australia.

Chatswood Interchange

The Chatswood Interchange is an interchange for various train and bus lines, which I thought would be the perfect place to set my own kind of interchange: one that connects the Fortress not only to other cities on Gaia, but also to the countless worlds in the Many Realms. This is all made possible by the magic of the Spirit Trees.

Savannah has this to say about the Interchange in Paragons:

It’s also known as the Gateway to Gaia . . . The Interchange is the Fortress’s smallest district. It’s only as large as the train station . . . But what the Interchange lacks in size, it makes up for in importance. The Spirit Tree sits at the center of it.

Savannah Winters

"The White Knight" (Paragons 1.2.1)

Neighboring the Interchange to the northwest is the Black Obelisk. In Paragons, this district houses the headquarters of the creepy Watchers.

Savannah’s continuing story will bring her back to both the Black Obelisk and the Interchange in future episodes. She’ll also explore many more districts in the Fortress.

I spent about four years living in the Sydney area, the setting that inspired the Fortress. You can read more about how I created the Paragons series here.

⇒ P.S. The top image in this post provides a rare view of the Sydney International Airport. There aren’t any cars or people because we moved back to Europe from Australia during the big Sydney lockdown in 2021. There were only seven flights out of Sydney that day!