The Baltic Sea is the body of water connecting the nations of the Eastern half of the Known World, the Western half requiring travel across open seas - in particular, the North Sea - to get from one country to another.
Parts and Proper Names Edit
The Baltic Sea is commonly subdivided into the Gulf of Bothnia (between Sweden and Finland), the Gulf of Finland (between Finland and the pre-Rash countries of Russia and Estonia), the Gulf of Riga (almost closed off by the island of Saaremaa), and the rest, usually called Baltic Proper.
In pre-Rash times, there was an ongoing dissent whether the Kattegat (the waters between Denmark and Sweden, in their back-then shape) should be considered part of the Baltic Sea or not. Official definition by the IHO was that it isn't, while everyday usage preferred it to be, similar to the question whether the Skagerrak should be considered part of the North Sea. It is yet unknown which opinion the post-Rash population holds on this matter.
Ship Traffic Edit
The Baltic Sea is criss-crossed by a number of ship routes even in the year 90, including not only freight traffic but also passenger lines running on schedule. In particular, the Timbercruiser provides both a travel opportunity between the Northwestern part of Finland - the Keuruu-Pori Waterway, to be precise - and Sweden, and serves to ship timber from Finland to Denmark. (The timber is said to continue to Iceland after being "cleaned" in Denmark, but the ships used to haul it remain unknown so far.)
The further suggests that there is iron (ore?) shipped over the Baltic Sea as well, since the only iron mine shown is near Rana, Norway, practically on the coast of the Norwegian Sea, while the only ironworks on the map are in Luleå, Sweden. There does not seem to be a land route between Norway and Sweden currently.
According to a comment from the author, construction of ships - apparently most often a retrofitting job - is the domain of Norwegian shipwrights. As a consequence, even the Timbercruiser bears Norwegian decorative elements, namely, the dragon head and tail known from Viking longboats.
Wildlife and Bestiary Edit
The details of fauna, flora, and monstrosities living in the Baltic Sea are still unknown, in spite of the protagonists having taken a trip from Pori to Björköfjärden on the Timbercruiser.
However, the details of that ship provide hints that the Baltic Sea is a rather safe area, as far as sea monsters go. The Timbercruiser is quite large and sports a very visible dragon head on its prow, so there obviously is no need to try and hide; on the other hand, if that decoration were meant to intimidate smaller creatures, one would wonder why the stern was made into a dragon tail, rather than giving the ship a second head. Last not least, the ship's hull has various large openings with no hatches to close them, which facilitate loading and unloading timber but also make its stability in foul weather questionable; likewise, these'ld threaten to make the ship take lots of water if a monster of suitable size were to attack it.
Bordering Countries and Settlements Edit
Finland has the Baltic Sea towards its West and South, but it seems that only Pori and maybe a part of Saimaa (running along the Saimaa Canal) are actually located on the coasts.
Sweden has its main settlements - above all, the capital of Mora - inland, but train lines connect them to the harbors of Björköfjärden and Skutskär. In addition, the metalwork sites of Skellefteå and Luleå in the far North have direct access to shipping lines, and a couple small islands near the Swedish coast - from Eckerö in the South to Fjuksön(?) in the North - are marked as cleansed lands.
In the waters of the Kattegat, Anholt (now Arnholt), Læsø, and a couple islands in the chain running along the Swedish coast from Göteborg to the North are marked as cleansed lands, too. It is unknown whether Sweden or Denmark holds dominion over them, though.
| The Known World|
Countries: Denmark (capital: Rønne) - Finland (Saimaa) - Iceland (Reykjavík) - Norway (Aurland) - Sweden (Mora)
(See the countries' individual pages for a more extensive list of their settlements.)
Other: Öresund Bridge - Shetland and various other small islands