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Author Topic: The Plains of Kaerath  (Read 5634 times)
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« on: 12 February 2013, 05:22:09 »

I had a very bad allergic reaction and was sent home for 8 days on medical leave. Back next Monday. In the meantime, I shall devote myself to writing, exercise and hearty food. ;)

This was an entry Miraran and I started three years ago. I reviewed Mira's draft from 2009, changed some bits and added quite a bit. Short (for a places entry) but sweet, I hope.  grin

Next on my list is a summary of Nybelmer, the Merfolk of the Nybelmarian continent.



Status update:
- Need to name:
(a) the two forests of the Amorai (X1 & X2); ---> Now: The Origin and the Whirlingwood respectively.
(b) the Tarshiin embassy at [X3] (no idea where or what this is - imported from Deci's notes); -- removed; will not name it in the text
(c) the giant mushrooms in which the Morchin live (X4) --- Now: Morikoom

Things to note:
- It was decided long ago that Metherinin (the river passing through Drifting Woods in the east) should spring from the Dolith range. The map needs to be updated and the river extended towards the mountains. In other words, the description below is accurate and the map outdated.



MOREDEIN KAERATH
(THE PLAINS OF KAERATH)

Overview
The Plains of Kaerath, or Moredein Kaerath, are the fertile lands in the north-western-most corner of Nybelmar. The Plains are a temperate region known for the plentiful grain they produce, with fresh water available both from the frequent rains and the many springs and brooks that wind their way through the gentle slopes of the hills that cover most of the area. One’s first and strongest impression upon setting foot on the Kaerathi Plains is a sense of things being out of proportion, as if one were walking through a strange dream where miniature thunderfeet wash windows with water from their trunks, mastiff-sized porcupines serenade giant prickleworts, tomato-sized pumpkins sit side by side with pumpkin-sized tomatoes, and peach-sized bees terrorize farmers as they fly around scouring the fields for nectar.

Description
No longer the primal wilderness of ages yore, the gently rolling hills and carefully cultivated fields of the Plains span from the foothills of the Dolith Mountains to the very cliffs that rise above the Nermarein Sea. After countless generations, it is all but forgotten that this pastoral realm was wrenched from the wild by its first inhabitants, the exiled earth mages of the ancient Faen nation to the southeast.

Today, however, the foreign traveller might find himself a bit bewildered at first in a land where grasses grow as high as men, but trees might be at their tallest barely above his waist. Be that as it may, the Plains have an air of plenitude that soon eases the mind and rouses the stomach.

In those places untouched by industrious Morchini farmers, the surface of the Plains is mostly covered with grasses and herbs, great and small. These are punctuated with only moderately sized copses and patches of shrubbery, which make the colossal Thorncloud trees scattered throughout the lands even more imposing. The soil is rich, but laced with lime, and the multitude of streams, brooks and small rivers that riddle the hills disappear in gurgling sinkholes, only to spring forth again from a small cave opening somewhere else entirely.

This brings forth the other face of the Kaerathi Plains: a musty world of limestone caves, flint and fungi, which has been cultivated over the ages just as much as the lush grain fields above. Tunnels and caverns great and small can be found throughout the region, but peter out as one approaches the three great forests of the Plains: the Drifting Woods to the northeast, the Origin to the northwest, and the Whirlingwood to the southwest.

Two great rivers span most of the Plains, their beds carved into the soft rock, and fed by thousands of smaller brooks and rivulets. These are the Metherinin in the east, which winds down from the eastern edge of the Dolith Mountains to filter down into the ocean through the Ter'ei'Vikh realm of the Drifting Woods; and the Eckumin in the west, which follows a more lateral course and spills into the sea from the west coast, on the southern border of the Amorai Origin forest.

The following extract, taken from Tales of the Third Shadow War, paints a gloomier picture of these lands:

“One step forward, and I should cease to be...”

Krasimir-Kael stood precariously on a piece of protruding rock, his head thrown back, leaning against the wind. Too great an effort was required to upset the balance. Even leaning forward and letting go called for a conscious act, a state of concentration beyond the velleity he could muster.

The wind picked some soil off the ground, brushed teasingly against his outstretched limbs, and carried it beyond the precipice, outward, towards the distant plains, leaving a tingling sensation in his left palm.

He sighed, letting the air drain from his puffed cheeks and press against his lips, and observed the process with disinterest and mild bemusement. He wondered what it would feel like to dissolve – like dust in the wind.

The sun flashed into sight on the skyline and was held for some moments before it was eclipsed by the wayward branch of a banyan tree in the distance.  The setting sun had washed the details off the landscape. The Thornclouds rose in thin shafts, their trunks burning red in the afternoon sun. Like sentinels – a dozen, perhaps more – they stood several strals apart from one another, sovereigns of the ground upon which they took root, each commanding the lands under its dewcircle. Though Krasimir-Kael could not see them, interspersed amidst the Thornclouds lay other trees in knots of a soft, porcelain blue – a colour not of real things but of shadows and evenfall. These, clustered beneath the drip-circles of the great Thornclouds, struck his fancy as emissaries cowering at knee level around the King for protection. The distance had flattened the landscape. The single shafts stood impervious, immeasurably tall, out of scale with the rest of the earth. They were of their own world, and they held up to the sky the statement of what had come before. Once, to the Morkin, to his Father when he stood, not far from here, twenty years ago, after the Battle of Kermut, gazing at Moredein Kaerath where the Lillivear were defeated and the Kazas united for the first time in more than a thousand years, they must have held a challenge – and a promise. Now, of the three Thornclouds around which MorKolmoger, the greatest settlement on Kazai Morchin-i, was built, the most ancient lay broken. The remaining two leaned drunkenly towards each other, as if they resisted collapse not through any heroic effort but on account of the dwellings, countless pulleys, ropes, conveyors and platforms stretching between their trunks in a confused clutter which neither the wind nor the most meticulous Bahimut could untangle.

He stood motionless, unable to move, wishing he would never have to move again. Sunset melted into twilight. Soon, dusk would drain the sky through the wound left by the sun and the faraway landscape would quiver and fade like an anaemic body in the process of exhausting its last drops of blood and light. The clouds were drifting west, as if they, too, were pulled to follow the sinking rays and to vanish quietly from the earth. He stood still, feeling no desire to resist it.


Location
The Plains of Kaerath mark the north-western-most corner of Nybelmar. The Plains border the Dolith Mountains to the south, but are otherwise surrounded on all sides by the sea, save for a narrow passage to the southwest and the southeast.

People
Three tribes reside side by side (though often not very peaceably) on the Plains: the Morchin; the Ter'ei'Vikh; and the Amorai.

The Morchin, or Mushroom People of the Kazai Morchin-i nation, are the primary occupants of the Kaerathi Plains. These short, stubby humans might be mistaken by the uneducated visitor for dwarves, or even gnomes, but are merely humans of short stature, a trait they share with the neighbouring Faen tribe. Considered one of the most skilled tribes of farmers on Nybelmar, the Morchini have transformed much of the wilderness of the Plains into lush orchards, expansive meadows, and fertile fields. They govern nearly all of the settlements on the open plains, with only a few exceptions such as the M'aghin research centre of the Enkyclopadië Nybelmarnica near the Metherinin River, a handful of independent Faen trading posts, and the Tarshiïn embassy. Their typical building styles, usually incorporating either the giant mushrooms of this region or colossal Thorncloud trees, add to the pastoral feel of the area, as it is mostly devoid of large artificial constructions such as cities and villages.

The Ter'ei'Vikh, or simply Vikh, inhabit the floating mangrove forest known as “the Drifting Woods”, which lies in the north-eastern corner of Moredein Kaerath. Due to its submerged hot springs, this bizarre jungle has developed a plethora of strange inhabitants and phenomena, and a tropical climate of its own. The Vikh have little to do with the outside world; they prefer to keep to themselves, only dealing with other tribes at the enormous Gates of M'aghin, where a large trading community can be found.

Lastly, the Amorai, a people descended from the Ancient Lillivear and somewhat related to the Ter'ei'Vikh, reside in two separated forested areas along the western coast of the Plains.

There is, of course, one other race without which no study of these lands would be complete, a race which lives not so much “on” the Plains as around the coastline of the peninsula. They are the Merfolk of Nybelmar, better known as Nybelmer. Not to be confused with their addle-brained Sarvonian cousins, Nybelmer are an intelligent race that can speak the human tongues and lives in more or less organised communities along the coasts of Nybelmar. They are also capable of casting advanced magic, depending on the tribe. The two mertribes of the Kaerathi coastline are: the Deep Sea Mer and the Glittermer.

Deep Mer with their royal blue fins are giants among Nybelmer, reaching an average length of six peds from head to tail. They are the Wardens of Mertribes: – a sort of “High Merfolk” if you like. Leaders of the merrace in “foreign relations”, the Deep Sea Mer travel to each of the merrealms to make sure all is well.

The cheerful and frivolous Glittermer dwell in the surface areas of most of the coast of the Kaerathi peninsula. They are well-known, albeit infrequent, visitors of port towns and fishing ships, who enjoy the sun as much as the water, often beaching themselves or climbing atop cliffs in order to sunbathe.

Climate
The Plains of Kaerath have a temperate climate, with all four seasons visibly manifest. During the summer months, the skies are mostly blue, alternated with large, fluffy rainclouds that provide a soft and refreshing rain to the fields below. During winter, the temperature rarely drops below zero periks and, with the exception of the foothills of the Germon Doilth, snow and ice are rare. The lands south of the Eckumin River, named after the mythical dragon Eckulor said to roost at its spring, are a bit colder. As such, they are more prone to stormy weather and temperature extremes than the more northern part of the region.

Flora
The flora of Moredein Kaerath is perhaps its greatest asset. Known widely as the "Granary of Nybelmar", the hububat fields of the Morchini supply grain to many nations other than their own via a chain of Faen merchants. Notable examples of the local flora are the Kazai rose, a decorative creeper popular even in Sarvonia; the enormous Thorncloud and Banyan trees; Morikoom mushrooms in which the Morchini make their homes; the fragrant Wise-Man's bush; and edible taintberries, which are used in many kinds of food preparation.

That which one would normally expect to be small is often gigantic on the Plains and vice versa. Among these one could list: shrub-sized trees sprinkled amidst the colossal, free-standing Thornclouds; pine trees hardly taller than a halfling; waist-high willows; miniature apple trees bearing ‘snack apples’ that can easily fit into a grown man’s closed fist; tomato-sized pumpkins and pumpkin sized tomatoes; giant daisies which Morchin children are fond of climbing; large mushrooms to sit on; pricklewort flowers with their central hub bigger than a man’s head; ginger and ginseng roots thick as the arms of a dwarven smith.

Of all these plants, two deserve special mention, hallmarks as they are of the Kaerathi Plains:

Echinacea – Pricklewort, Royalspine, Aguebane: The first two names are derived from the spiky centre of the flower, which children think resembles a miniature prickleboar. Its more common title of ‘Aguebane' comes from its remarkable ability to mediate the symptoms of a typical ague - the running nose, the stuffed head, the sore throat... all respond well to an infusion of Aguebane with malisehoney.

Umbrella Thorn – Bumbertree, Fishhook, Thorncloud: Colloquially nicknamed the 'Bumbertree' or the 'Fishhook (from its resemblance to a Brownie mushroom used as a rainshelter, or its double-spiked thorns), this dramatic tree is better known as the Thorncloud.  From a distance one sees a series of misty greyish flat-bottomed shapes, looking exactly like rain clouds hovering on the horizon.  But as one approaches, one sees the haze resolve into narrow leaves with the viciously-pronged thorns protruding beyond them, clustered in their cloudlike masses on elongated limbs.  The best one can say about this tree is that it provides a great deal of shade, its dripcircle being almost a stral in diameter...

Fauna
As with the native flora, the animals of the Moredein Kaerath often seem to be on the wrong scale, being either far bigger or much smaller than they have a right to be. Good examples of this are two-ped millipedes that dwell in the many cisterns and cave tunnels; kitten-size Tum-um cats; peach-sized bees; giant Tareps called 'Nibakku' by the Morchini, which they use as mounts; colossal squirrels upon which the Amorai traverse the Plains; mastiff-sized porcupines that can ‘spit’ their needles; giraffes, which are comical enough in their natural size; miniature Thunderfeet about the size of a young dog, which the Morchini train to clean windows, wash the streets and water the grass; and of course the enormous Bahimut monsters lumbering through the landscape.

Wanderers of the open hillsides would best be wary of Sidizz holes. Even through the average rock-snapper is not large enough to be a real threat to humans, the sharp claws may inflict painful wounds on the hapless victim's feet or legs, making the remainder of the way an unpleasant business. Another health risk of Kaerath is the Green Fever, which is transferred by the Grey Bloodmoth's sting, so it is often wise to use a finely-woven net to shield oneself from these and other pests at night.

Resources
The true treasure of Moredein Kaerath lies in its agrarian products, specifically the famous hububat grain which serves as the base for gida, jinn, and kubhi-bread – three products that make up a considerable portion of the local cuisine. The foothills of Germon Dolith have several useful deposits of coal, flint-stone, and tin ore, but the mining of these resources remains problematic, as the Dolith range is notoriously hostile to travellers and settlers alike, making only the outermost deposits available to the Morchini.

The many caves and chasms that riddle the Kaerathi landscape produce an extraordinary amount of different fungi and molluscs, many of which are edible or useful in some way. Examples of this are the local freshwater oysters, the purple-shelled kuro snails, and the highly sought-after kedhab mushrooms, which, depending on the variety, can be used as a potent healing agent or in the creation of a destructive solvent.

------------

Addition Artimidor - pictures intended for this entry:

"Forest Castle" by Morjer: Plains of Kaerath: under People
A Morchin Watchtower overseeing the Morchin-Amorai border in the northwest- veritably a castle of moss, grass and wood! The Morchin on the open plains and the Amorai in their forests reside side by side on Moredein Kaerath, although, it has to be said, not very peacably. Territory frequently changes hands between the two tribes every time the Amorai invade and the mushroom-people march to reclaim land. But hear the story from Amorai lips - how those evil Morchin are forever trying to push their borders into the forest realm of the Amorai! There is truth to both accounts: The Morchini are always striving to expand their territory (into the Drifting Woods, the Amorai realm, Faen and the Islands of Thareliath); and the Amorai do retaliate. As the Way of the Monk says, "War will not bring peace."

"Inside the Origin" by Reegen: Plains of Kaerath: under People or Flora? (NB: Also to be added to the upcoming entries on the Amorai)
The forest realm of the Amorai, descendants of the Ancient Lillivear. Note the Warden on patrol duty.


"One Last Climb" by Reegen: Plains of Kaerath: under Description
The birthplace of the Eckumin River, named after the mythical dragon Eckulor said to roost at its spring. Note the white-clad Amorai Warden.


"Blue Mushrooms" by Reegen: Plains of Kaerath: under Description or People
The three independent trading posts of the Faen, seen from a distance. The Plains are free from large artificial constructions such as cities and villages, and the Morchini would like to keep them that way. Therefore, to keep the other races from "tainting" the soil of Kaerath, the earth mages of the Morchini grow them enormous rocky mushrooms upon which they can build to their hearts' desire. Contrast the giant red mushrooms into which the Morchini carve their own living spaces.

"Sky Roots" by Reegen: Plains of Kaerath: under Flora (Maybe I should write a Myths section?)
The enormous Banyan trees of Moredein Kaerath. Things often seem to be in the wrong proportions on the Plains... This is an artist's illustration of the Morchin tale "Sky Roots", also known across the lands as "the Tale of the Tree that Grew the Wrong Way Up". Behold the first and mightiest of the Banyan, which took root in the clouds and grew all the way down to the earth, the mother tree from which all its smaller progeny sprouted.
« Last Edit: 07 September 2013, 16:33:09 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged

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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #1 on: 12 February 2013, 05:26:52 »

And here be a map!

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"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
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« Reply #2 on: 12 February 2013, 05:39:13 »

A-ha... Allergic to war games, eh? :P Anyway, looks like something good has come out of it... Can't hurt to finally get an older entry finished. Too bad we don't have any other Nybelmar specialists around, though, but looks pretty good from what I see...  thumbup
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« Reply #3 on: 22 February 2013, 04:52:25 »

Basic note on the map thingy here:

Well, as I say regularly, Coren: Map updates are a pain in the *beep*. For one I cannot even properly read most of the stuff written on this map here, and what exactly represents the Dolith range isn't exactly marked on this map. Secondly, what needs to change where isn't shown either. Thirdly, whenever a map part is shown already somewhere on the site, it would need to be fixed on all places (e.g. main map, two versions in the Nybelmar entry alone, then the Dragon's Back map perhaps, would changes be necessary anywhere else?) All that is changed needs to be done on the small map versions and the enlarged one of course. And as this is all very unclear where we use what map you see that changing a line somewhere is the personified horror. And right now I don't know what to do and how to do it. If we do changes here they need to be as precise and clear as possible.

I've also moved the link to the picture and the description now into this entry to have it right here in order to integrate it when needed.
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #4 on: 24 February 2013, 20:28:02 »

Sorry for the confusion, Art. I didn't express myself very clearly there. I didn't intend this map to be uploaded - it's just a development draft to show where the borders of Kaerath are.

Also, I didn't mean to imply that I expected you to change the maps. Miraran was working on a new Nybelmar map before he disappeared, so maybe he'll finish it if/when he comes back. I just added the passage quoted below as a disclaimer to explain why the verbal description doesn't match the map we have on the site atm.

Quote
It was decided long ago that Metherinin (the river passing through Drifting Woods in the east) should spring from the Dolith range. The map needs to be updated and the river extended towards the mountains. In other words, the description below is accurate and the map outdated.

Hope that helps. :)

EDIT: Added the links to the other Kaerath pictures.
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"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
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« Reply #5 on: 03 March 2013, 00:14:02 »

Still stuck on the names... Have I mentioned how much I HATE naming things?
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"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
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« Reply #6 on: 03 March 2013, 02:23:12 »

I understand you well - sometimes I need a hour to find one, for a char or so.

And I really like the nomenclature in the tribe entries', it is a great help!
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« Reply #7 on: 07 March 2013, 04:41:17 »

No problem with the entry, Coren, aside from the names that are still missing, so I hope you can get to that next, then we can integrate this one.

A word however on picture integration: Generally speaking I'd say we shouldn't allow claiming too many pictures for a single entry. For one, others might have ideas where to put certain pictures as well, and secondly, if we aren't dealing with an extremely extensive entry too many pictures make an entry cluttered. In this case you'd like to use 5 pictures, and that's definitely extreme. I would suggest if the topic allows it to make another Places entry dealing with a specific picture (or two) you want to use, in order to spread them at least evenly. You seem to plan an entry on the Amorai anyway, so holding off on that would we better for now. There are three pics you suggest might perhaps best go under People as well - and we wouldn't even have the space to put them there. So these things need to be considered.
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« Reply #8 on: 23 May 2013, 07:13:42 »

Done!

1. Missing names added.
2. Selected 3/5 pictures to be integrated.
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"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
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« Reply #9 on: 23 May 2013, 08:14:08 »

Kinda short by your standards, no?   rolleyes
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« Reply #10 on: 25 May 2013, 00:32:04 »

Some things change.
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"Yes, what does that mean?"
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« Reply #11 on: 26 May 2013, 01:18:27 »

Another wonderful read, Coren.  I must admit that your writing ability and self critiquing leaves very little for me to ever comment on.  I can never seem to find anything to point out, so I'm simply left with; Excellent Entry.  :)

This one is the same.  If I did have a quibble, it is in the way you describe the bees, and peach-sized bees fly around terrorizing fields of tomato-sized pumpkins and pumpkin-sized tomatoes..

As someone who has no fear of bees and in fact, quite like the little fellows, the phrase terrorizing feels out of place in an idyllic scene that you describe.  Who or what are they terrorizing? and how are they doing so?  Are they like our African Killer bees and outright attacking anything that comes near and disrupts their activity?

I wonder if finding a more neutral phrase would be more appropriate?  and peach sized bees weave their intricate flying patterns (dance?) over fields of tomato-sized pumpkins and pumpkin-sized tomatoes.

Just a thought, and only MHO. :D
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« Reply #12 on: 26 May 2013, 03:20:05 »

Oww, thanks Alt! You always spoil me. A lot of the entry was Miraran's though, as may be evident from the syntax.

I don't know; personally I find the prospect of getting stuck by a bee which is larger than my fist quite terrifying enough. But then again I'm allergic to bees. :P
« Last Edit: 26 May 2013, 08:27:11 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
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« Reply #13 on: 26 May 2013, 08:21:20 »

Count me as a fan also - a well thought out and enjoyable read.  :)

These plains remind me of depictions of various stages of the earth's creatures as imagined millions of years ago, over the course of time seeing the emergence of the first tiny mammals, huge insects, enormous birds, and of course the dinosaurs. So much of the prehistoric world seemed so out of proportion by today's standards.

Maybe the confusion over the bees is that they generally do not harm the fields themselves (they are helpful to the growth of a field, because they pollinate the flowers) but due to their size, the sting of these bees could possibly produce a more adverse affect to humans and animals than the sting of an average malise. (A huge swarm of locusts, on the other hand, could "terrorize" a field by eating the plants quickly and thus destroy it.) Maybe it could be phrased along the lines of something relating to the bees' most likely activity and purpose in the field, which is scouring the fields for nectar?

My only other question is about the inclusion of the "giant sunflowers which Morchin children are fond of climbing;" Sunflowers, by comparison to other types, can grow pretty huge normally (commonly 1.5-3.5 meters, world record 8 meters), so they would be expected to be big. Perhaps instead a flower that would be expected to be small?
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« Reply #14 on: 28 May 2013, 04:08:56 »

Didn't we discuss the issues concerning the Blue Mushrooms pic already? If not, here are my concerns:

- The cities up there look technologically advanced with these antennae (?) up there.
- Also my main concern are the flying ships, which I'm sure I've mentioned somewhere should not spread over the whole world. And we've already marked Qel'tra'loh to have these ships.

So what about these issues? Are these things in any way addressed in the text? I don't see any clear direct reference there in the text either that should go with the pic.
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