The Stone Fields of Peat are arguably the most desolate lands in all of Sarvonia. They lie in Northern Sarvonia, in the east, northwest to the Gulf of Glandor. Very few dwell among the rocks and rubble that make up the Stone Fields, and though no one really knows how it came to be, there are rumors among all who live in close proximity to it. Some believe that, as one time, it was a massive city built in rock and stone, but that the villagers angered the gods and the city was reduced to mere rubble. Other say that a great wizard of earth here made a create spell that took from him his life, and that, as though in his honour, the ground heaved up great stones to mark his final resting place. No one knows the true story, but all agree that the desolation of the Stone Fields echoes an eerie sorrow.
Picture description. A stone troll of the Stone Fields of Peat. Image drawn by Val O'Neil, coloured by Bard Judith.
Stone Fields of Peat stretch across a vast amount of land, from the base of
Maiden’s Threshold in the south to the gentle slopes of the Peat Hillands in
the north. The land is about 7 or 8
furleys in diameter, but
for a horseman trying to cross through
this craggy plain, he would find that the trip might take far longer. At times
the rocks may protrude from the earth in
gnarled figures, as though the earth
itself were trying to pierce the quavering air.
The wearing of time has made a few inconspicuous stones dangerously slippery,
which may cause injury if one should step with too much haste.
The Fields are uniformly bleak in appearance, and usually little can be seen save stone, sand, and dirt. Many of the creatures who have adapted to this environment have gained a colouration that makes them hard to see among the grays and browns. Though rocky, the Stone Fields of Peat are pretty constant in height. Save for a withered tree or a desperate rock seeming to reach up from the desolate lands, the Stone Fields appear rather flat. It is this appearance that makes the traveler less cautious than he or she should be. Often times the appearance may seem to hide loose rocks and holes where one might easily sprain an ankle.
Neither house nor tent stands in the Stone Fields of Peat, and if one should be seen, it can be almost guaranteed that it will soon be gone. The Stone Fields are home to stone trolls, but you will not see their houses breaking the undisturbed horizon. Shelter is gained by caves and caverns under the surface. Usually the caves are small and remain undecorated, as often the trolls will need to migrate in order to find food. However, homes have been made or found within the surface.
These homes tend to be extremely delicate, at times. Sometimes pushing too hard on one wall may cause the ceiling to come down, and any under it to be crushed by the ceiling and any other rocks that tumble in to fill the gap. It is nearly impossible to find these caves without taking a good look all around. One may walk on top of a cave whose entrance is a mere ped away without noticing its existence in the slightest. The Stone Fields tend to make everything seem the same.
The Stone Fields of Peat are a dangerous place to journey into for more reasons than one. One of the most frightening is merely that, in the Stone Fields, everything looks about the same. If people get lost or forget what direction they were traveling in, it may cause them months or even years to get out, if they are able to get out at all. Being lost in the Stone Fields may prove fatal, as there are very few animals to hunt, and even if an animal is near, they often times seem to blend in perfectly into their habitat and seem to become just another rock lying in the fields.
Not much is known about the Stone Fields, as very few have traveled through it and lived to tell about what was there. What is located in the very center is known, though there are rumors that one might find some great artifact lying amongst the rubble, such as a magical pendant, a crown, or elegant and exotic pieces of jewelry. Some believe there is nothing at all out there, that the Fields are desolate all the way through, and such might indeed be the case.
It is also believed that a secret lake is located under the Stone Fields. It does not often rain on the Stone Fields, but when it does it seems that the water soaks through the cracks and vanishes into the shadows between the rocks. It is commonly believed that this water leaks into this underground lake, which many have called “Stone Troll Lake,” as it is believed this is where all the stone trolls’ water comes from. It is believed there are strange and mystical creatures living in and around the lake, and there is much talk of dragons.
Location. The Stone Fields of Peat lie in Northern Sarvonia, in the east. It is located near the eastern coast, just northwest of the Gulf of Glandor. Directly to the east of it you can find the large town of Hovel Frond, a prominent port town. Southwest of the Stone Fields one may find Maiden’s Threshhold, a mountainous region that seems to almost broken off from the Vindel Mountains to the west of the Stone Fields of Peat.
The Stone Fields are closely linked to the Peat Hillands, and at times it’s hard to see where the Stone Fields end and the Hillands begins. As one moves from the Hillands into the Stone Fields, they might notice bits of rock springing up here and there, but so gradual is the change that most don’t even realize that they are no longer in the Hillands until they see they are surrounded by rock and stone. Even a stral into the Fields, however, one might find clumps of dirt yielding life characteristic of the Hillands.
Stone trolls are the only known sentient
inhabitants of the Stone Fields of Peat. These creatures, tough and sure-footed,
are the only creatures that have been known to be able to survive this harsh
habitat. They are perfectly suited to their environment, though. Stone trolls
have a gray and grayish-brown coloration to them, which makes them hard to see.
When not moving, they look like another rock or stone lying in the fields.
The stone trolls are also one of the few creatures that can actually navigate around the Stone Fields. They can see the slight colour differences in rocks and the difference in shape and texture: details that most races aren’t able to see and remember as well. However, it is said that the stone troll’s eyes are very sensitive to bright colors, as they are used to seeing things in shades of gray. The trolls are also very limber, able to move well in the rocks and stones, avoiding the holes that would cripple a man.
|Image description. A Peat giant sporting a spiked club. Picture from the game Mystical Empire, used with permission. Image drawn by Faugar.|
Giants also inhabit the desolate fields, though usually only around the
periphery of the fields, where they find caves and places of shelter among the
rocky terrain. The giants, due to their light-hued colouration and bulky shape,
find they are easily camouflaged in the fields. They rarely journey too far into
the center of the fields, doing so only when food is scarce, and they are
willing to take their chances in the fields trying to take down a
cragok goat or perhaps capture a
gynnia. Otherwise, they usually stay
just inside the perimeter, where they aren’t a bother to the
rock trolls, but rather to the
ice tribes and surrounding.
Climate. Either because the Stone Fields are so close to the sea or either because of the rumored lake that is said to dwell below the rocks and boulders, the climate remains fairly mild, or as mild as can be expected given the placement of the Field so far north. This location yields chilly winters and cool summers, which often make people wish the stones had been less desolate than it currently is.
The sky almost always seems to echo the world below them by reflecting gray clouds almost constantly above the fields. Most believe that these clouds come from the ocean, and though they may vary in thickness, sometimes yielding more light than other times, they are almost always gray, making nights in the Stone Fields black and haunting. Though there are commonly clouds over the Stone Fields of Peat, rain is not as constant as it is in other places. Some think that the dry air created by all the rocks causes the rain to fall closer to the shore.
Sometimes in winter rain will fall, but it is not often that pools or puddles form: at least, not where one can see them. One reason that the Stone Fields are so dangerous is because it is nearly impossible to find a good water source. Most of the water drains through the cracks of the rocks, disappearing into some mysterious place under the surface.
Flora. The vast Stone Fields stretch out in rocky desolation where, at a glance, nothing but the boulders and rocks appears to occupy the area, but on closer look, some hints of life emerge from the gray background. Some mosses have been able to grab hold of the bare rock, using the minerals in them for nutrition, such as the squrim moss. The moss is perhaps one of the most important elements for life in the Stone Fields, able to convert the stone to nutrition and, upon dying, providing important soil for the small grasses that grow between the rocks and in the nooks and cracks of the stone. The most prolific of these is Peat grass, a plant of a grayish tint that makes it almost seem to vanish against the gray of the rocks. The Peat grass, apart from providing food for other animals through its leaves, also drops seeds which form a stable diet for some of the animals in the area.
The Peat rock cactus almost completely blends in with the surroundings because of its startling likeness to the rocks of the region. This plant also supports life in the region, its innards supplying a good source of water to the creatures that make the Stone Fields their home. As for larger plants such as the batch tree, they grow on the outskirts of the Stone Fields, where the fields begin to blend into more fertile areas.
Fauna. The animals of the Stone Fields exist in a delicate system, each species depending on the survival of the others in order to maintain a healthy balance. The flies of the Stone Fields seem the most numerous, especially the dergimar fly, which is the main food source for the rock gynnia, a small bird of grayish hue that manages to survive in the harsh climate. Among the rodents of the area, the stone mouse is a relatively popular creature, and provides an excellent food-source for falcons and hawks, like the ash falcon.
The largest known animals of the area, save for the giants and trolls, are the cragok goats. These goats travel in small packs and are well-adapted for leaping from rock to rock in their endless migrations. They feed on the various plants and moss in the area, and themselves provide food for giants, trolls, and scavengers.
Both the ground above and the myth-lake below may indeed contain more creatures, but these are yet unknown, and thus far, none who have dare to go out into the rocky desert have come back with information, if they come back at all.
Resources. The Stone Fields of Peat are - as their name implies - rich with rocks and stones, and metals contained in them. The Stone Fields are, however, almost devoid of any precious gems. One will not find rubies or diamonds hidden among the rubble unless they are left by a traveler passing through, though there are some fairy tales, where the Stone Fields are said to harbour many more secrets than is obvious - but these stories are, well, just fairy tales as it seems. Dwarves use the metal found in the stones to make swords and armour. Orcs, humans, and other races can also use this metal, but none make so good a use as the dwarves.
The metal can at times be difficult to mine, but at times it can be quite rewarding. Trace bits of mithril can be found in some boulders, and can thus be used to make small pieces of jewelry that may in turn be sold at a high price.
The Stone Fields also provide strong rocks used for building. The nearby Ak'váth'rhím elves use the Stone Fields of Peat as their main resource in the building of homes. They mine and cut stones from the fields before sending them to the Kanapan Peninsula, where the tribe is located, to be dyed into pearly colours and used to create colourful and beautiful buildings.
Mythology. Very little is known about the Stone Fields of Peat, though it is a place that seems to stick out in the mind. It is unlike any other place in Caelereth, what with its rocks and stones and crags. There is a feeling of eerie desolation, of some sort of sorrow that pierces the heart of those who behold it in its dreary gray garments. Many believe that the Stone Fields were thus created by some incredible tragedy.
One of the more popular stories is that of a grand city that used to stand “before myth or lore were born”. It is said that the city was made completely out of stone, with grand towers slicing the sky, with elegant towers and beautiful buildings upon which the Injerá shone with great admiration. Everything was made from stone, from the turrets to the castles to the cobblestone roads that led anywhere in the city one should like to go. The city was surrounded by stonewalls that protected those within and created peace within.
The people of this stone-city by the sea are said to have been very dark and noble, with black hair and eyes, and dark skin. One of the members of this city was a man named Arlindan, and he is said to have been the noblest and most handsome of the city’s population. His hair was like onyx and fell to his shoulders, though he often wore it back. His deep ebony eyes were full of passion and the desire for justice. Strong and able-bodied, it is said he led many a victorious battle against the orcs. He was loved by all, both for his courage and his beauty.
They say it was Queprur who looked upon him and fell deeply in love with him, for he reminded her of Armeros, the God of Justice who had let her down in favour of the fair Jeyriall. Queprur often watched him until one night she came to him in corporeal form, dressed in elegant silks of black, and she beckoned him to come with her and be her mate, promising immortality.
However, Arlindan rejected her, for he had fallen in love with another: a delicate daughter of the ruler’s advisor. Her silken black hair flowed delicately down her back, and her eyes were deep and romantic. She was high-class, well mannered, and had all the grace and beauty of a blue glitra. But vengeful Queprur would not have rejection. One night, after the call of a nightbird, Queprur stole the young girl’s soul.
Arlindan was both sad and furious. Still, he would not yield, and spoke words out into the darkness that was Queprur's heart denouncing her, telling her of his hate for her, of his scorn, and that he would never, could never, bring himself to love a witch like her. Queprur was enraged, and they say that she, with the claws of a demon, crushed the city to rock and rubble that spread for furlays all around, and killed all who resided there. Such was the end of the great city of stone and all who resided within it.
Many other stories circulate. Some believe that it was the result of the death of some earth sorcerer. They say this wizard cast a great spell, though none are quite sure what spell that was, near the end of the War of the Chosen. Many believe it was a spell to restore order and peace to all things of the Earth Realm, to settle the magic of Earth. For days and nights he chanted his spell, put things in their proper order, until the Earth cár’áll was restored to order.
However, the magician had given so much of himself to the spell that his life faded and went out, and collapsed upon the ground to never breathe again. The Earth, it is said, to honour his accomplishment and his life, drew upwards as rocks and rubble, creating a natural monument for him that reached our for furlays. Those who believe this will tell you that the Stone Fields of Peat are always growing in honour and respect.
There are many other creation-stories of the Stone Fields of Peat, but truly none can say how they came into being. Perhaps it remains a mystery that will never be solved.
Lore. It is commonly believed among the folk living around the Stone Fields that there is an ancient lake under the surface, where leaks all the rain water that falls in the year. None have ever really seen it, but many believe wholely in it. They call it “Stone Troll Lake,” as it is a lake that the stone trolls drink from, and the lake that only they know of. This fabulous lake and the stone trolls living near it are part of two fairy-tales collected in "Master Tribell's Miraculous Narrations" (giving quite ambiguous pictures of the trolls by the way). But whether these stories sprang only from the imagination of bards of the Northlands or if there's more to these tales than just the myth, no one can say for sure.
Myths and rumors have also been made out of what other creatures live down so deep under the earth except the stone trolls. Some believe that exotic fish covered in lights dwell in the Stone Troll Lake or that strange porpoises swim through the dark waters, calling out to each other in haunting moans and cries. Others claim strange plants that can catch and swallow orcs reside there, lying in wait for something tasty to eat. Most agree that a dragon or a clan of dragons lives there, deep within the murky depths, and that it sleeps. If it should ever be wakened, they say, all of Northern Sarvonia would fall at its wrath. Well, let's assume that at least the latter part is probably quite imaginative.
In the few families living around the Stone Fields, mothers will warn their children not to wander too far into the Stone Fields, saying that the stone trolls will sacrifice them to the lake-dwelling dragon, or to carnivorous plants larger than even the mightiest orc. Though most children would say they weren’t afraid of such things, none dare journey too far into the Stone Fields of Peat. The Stone Fields are even regarded as dangerous in villages far from the bleak land, and mothers threaten that if their children are too naughty they will send them off into the Stone Fields of Peat from where they might never return!
Information provided by Rayne Avalotus