MOREDEIN KAERATH ("PLAINS OF KAERATH")

DESCRIPTION - LOCATION - PEOPLE - CLIMATE
FLORA - FAUNA - RESOURCES

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.

The Trading Posts of the Faen
View picture in full size Image description. 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. Picture drawn by Reegen.

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.
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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. Return to the top

A Morchin Watchtower
View picture in full size Image description. One of the Morchin Watchtowers overseeing the Morchin-Amorai border in the northwest- veritably a castle of moss, grass and wood! Picture drawn by Morjer.

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

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. Return to the top

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. Return to the top

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.

A Banyan Tree
View picture in full size Image description. The enormous Banyan trees of Moredein Kaerath. Things often seem to be in the wrong proportions on the Plains... Picture drawn by Reegen.

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:

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. Return to the top

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. Return to the top

 Date of last edit 23rd Burning Heavens 1673 a.S.

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