The Cross and the Dragon takes place in eighth-century Francia during the reign of King Charles, whom we know as Charlemagne. This is an era of war and blood feuds, when the folk believed in divine intervention and magic. At the time of this story, Charles’s realm included today’s France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, along with the lands he conquered in northern Italy.
- Drachenhaus: This fictitious Rhineland castle is Alda’s birthplace. It is placed at today’s Rolandsbogan, south of Bonn, Germany, across the river from Drachenfels Mountain. According to legend, Siegfried slew the dragon on Drachenfels and bathed in its blood for invulnerability. The castle is built with stone from Drachenfels.
- March of Brittany: Marches were, to use modern parlance, buffer zones between Francia and a foreign entity, the Bretons in this case. The March of Brittany included Rennes, Nantes, and Vannes. The historic Hruodland was the count.
- Paderborn, Germany: In 777, Charles held his assembly at Paderborn, where a delegation of three emirs asked for Charles’s help against the ruler of Cordova. They may have told Charles the emir of Cordova would encroach on his territories, as evidenced by a letter from Pope Hadrian referring to Charles’s fear of invasion. Charles invaded Hispania the next year.
- Pass of Roncevaux (Roncesvalles, Spain): Something really bad happens here.
- Nonnenwerth: A real island in the Rhine, close to Drachenhaus, it is home of the fictitious Sisters of the Sacred Blood, run by a strict abbess. Convents have made their homes on this island since 1126.
- Abbey of Saint Stephen: Fictitious abbey with a hospital in southern Aquitaine, in today’s France.
- Dormagen, Germany: Ganelon’s home, north of Cologne in today’s Germany