The Yanth River, dividing the
south-eastern tip of Manthria from the south-west as
surely as the Caeytharin Mountains divide it from the north-west, is a dark,
cold river known for its fish and its frigidity. The Yanth is located to the
west of Ciosa, and south of
Marcogg, and empties into the Yanthian Gulf via the Fens of Yanthai. It is
known for having hindered travel winter through spring along the road from
Ciosa to Quairantree for ages until the construction of
a bridge connected the road permanently in 1465.
Description. The Yanth begins high in the Caeytharin Mountains, a little south east of Ciosatran: the cave where the Avennorian leaders are interred, and several hundred peds up the slopes. The icy cold spring that begins the Yanth River is known to few, but the river itself which forms the western border of the Deep Julin Barrows where the important figures of Avennorian history are buried, is much better known than its remote source. Equally known are the fish that spawn with abundance in some of the higher regions of the river. The river has a very fast current, which eases off as it reaches Svanrek's Reach and slows to a crawl before reaching the Fens. This speed, combined with the coldness of the water almost year-round makes the river rather dangerous, as do the deceptively slippery banks. The Yanth is occasionally called "Old Icewine" by fishermen because of the reputed sweetness of fish pulled from the Yanth's icy grasp.
Key Locations. Key points of the Yanth River are as follows:
The Yanth starts in the western end of the Caeytharins, above Ciosatran and the Deep Julin Barrows. The spring that spawns it is a humble thing, in the high end of a rocky canyon within the mountains. The fissure which the spring emanates from delivers a very strong spray, which falls from some 20 peds into a pool below before going on to roll down through the valley. The total height of this spring above the rest of the river has not been accurately measured, but is estimated to be at least in the range of 300 peds. Between the Rockspring and where the river enters the Deep Julin Barrows, the river is joined by dozens of smaller runs, swelling it to the larger proportions that can be seen once it clears the mountains.The Rockspring emerges from a massive sheath of granite at the end of the canyon, which has worn down very little over the ages.
The widest and deepest point in the river lies where the river begins its turn south-east towards the Yanthai Fens and their eventual dumping into the Yanthian Gulf. Svanrek’s Leap is named for the unfortunate death of Jorn Gerulf Svanrek in a riding accident. Svanrek’s foot became entangled in a poorly made stirrup and when his horse was suddenly startled by a Springfall Razor, one of the vicious cold winds that plague the area around the river in the barrows and to the north of them, both horse and rider tumbled over the cliff into the river. The harder rock of the Deep Julin Barrows has given rise to a great cliff here, and the other bank is a muddy rock strewn mess a rough 50 or 60 peds below, depending on which part of the cliff you stand on. Until Svanrek's death in (add year) the cliff was simply called the "Barrow Watch".
Svanrek's Reach the sole bridge across the Yanth, connects the road from Ciosa to Quairantree. Also named for Gerulf Svanrek, the area was originally called Skalm's Ferry, or Svanskalm's Purse, because of who the money from the ferry went to. Tenrigcolm Svanskalm had been a bitter rival of Svanrek for many years, and Svanrek sought to cut him off from a lucrative source of income by building a bridge as an alternative to the ferry, which did not run in the earlier spring or the winter. The stone piling used as anchors for the ferry can still be seen off to the side, now covered by grass and titled by the growth of a rather large tree. The bridge is constructed out of local granite, and spans a 36 ped point in the river which happens to be one of the narrower stretches.
Swanling's Rest, or simply Swan's Rest is one of few inns on the road to and from Ciosa. Its positioning is fortunate, as it sits on the eastern bank of the Yanth, just before one reaches Svanrek's Reach. Anyone who does not wish to sleep on the roadside or ride all night to reach the next inn tends to stop at the Rest. Swan's Rest has been owned and operated by the Swanlings, originally by Fjor Halokar Swanling who bought the land it sits on, since the construction of the bridge in 1465. The current proprietor Fjorek Fridjin Swanling, has owned the establishment since 1623, and it is conceivable that the inn will remain in the possession of the family for at least as long as it already has.
The Fens of Yanthai
The Yanth River eventually slows to a trickle and branches out like a tree in to the mire of the Fens of Yanthai. These fens are an interesting type of wetland called a salt marsh. At night, when the tide comes in, the saltier waters of the Yanthian gulf mix with the freshwater from the Yanth, resulting in a brackish water that seems to produce a layer of greenish scum, like that found in ponds. Despite this, quite a bit of vegetation grows in the Fens, and careful fishers can find their sacks well padded at the end of the day.
Location. The Yanth River begins as little more than a trickle in the western end of the Caeytharin Mountains in the south east of Manthria. From its source, well above Ciosa’s Rest, the river winds its way down through the countryside, to the rocky foothills below, where it marks the western edge of the Deep Julin Barrows. In addition to marking this edge of the foothills, the Yanth also splits a section of the Caeytharin Mountains from the rest of the range. The river slowly winds its way down the coast there, fortified by some of the smaller streams in the mountains until it reaches the Fens of Yanthai, which will eventually dump its water into Yanthian Gulf, both of which take their name from the river. The Yanth itself is bridged to the north-east of the Avennor Dome Ruins, perhaps the earliest human settlement of the region.
People. There are few
people who tread along the banks of the Yanth River. Those who do, traders and
travellers attempting to go from Ciosa or Fang Julin in
the East to Klinsor or beyond find the river is not easily crossed. The
water is too deep to be forded in many
places, and the current is swift and cold so those who desire to cross the river
must wander south until it shallows out before becoming the Fens or use the sole
bridge across the river roughly in the middle of its run. Fishermen also use the
Yanth’s abundance of fish in the river’s frigid waters, though usually to the
south of the bridge, where the current is easier, and there are better places to
fish in the shade of low hanging trees. In addition to these, the number of
traders, craftsmen and other travelling sorts who use the road that crosses the
Yanth at the river can be quite substantial, even in the winter months since the
completion of the bridge, when the river used to be next to unusable for ferry
Climate. The Yanth River is noted, particularly in the higher reaches, to have blasting winds. These winds, called "Rotrumar" (literally mountain breath) by the Thergerim and "Springfall Razors" by the Ciosan folk have given rise to a few choice phrases about the sharpness of a person’s tongue such as “so and so has a Razor’s bite he does”. Many not familiar with the winds, which blow their hardest and coldest in Singing Bird, mistake the phrase as referring to the shaving implement rather than these veritable flesh-flaying monstrosities. The Razors rarely reach further south than the middle parts of the Deep Julin Barrows, giving rise to their other name “Barrow Winds”. To the south, past the Barrows, the weather is often quite nice, as the middle parts of the Yanth are far enough inland to avoid the semi-perpetual fog that tends to shroud areas of the coast around Ciosa, and warmer winds tend to blow inland from the Yanthian Gulf. Of important note is that the river tends to swell immensely in the early spring months, spilling its banks in some places, and in the winter, the river is best avoided all together unless crossing at the bridge because of the slipperiness along the banks. Shallower bends in the river may partially freeze up, but these are few and far between. By and large, the Yanth remains clear of ice until the spring thaw brings chunks down from the mountains.
Flora. The banks of the Yanth River are dotted with a variety of plant life, which increases as one moves south. Red birch finds places to grip in the rocky soil to the north, and in the much better soil on the side of the banks. As the river becomes the Fens of Yanthai, the yealm reed can be seen growing in some of the fingers of the river. Waterstars can be found marking some of the warmer, shallower stretches of the otherwise cold river. People attempting travel to the north of the fens should be wary as krakenweed has colonized some of the banks. In the higher reaches, brave and rather sizable redberry bushes can be found clinging to outcrops along the side of the narrower section of the river. Following the spring thaw and flooding, grasses grow very abundantly in the rich muck off of the river bed, and some people actually harvest small quantities of this mud for use on their own gardens as it shares properties with manure, though having a wet earthy smell rather than the odour commonly associated with such measures. The Fens are heavy in yealm reed, which is one of the few plants to survive in the saltier waters of the Fens, as well as twinegrass, which grows surprisingly well here.
Fauna. Mithralfish can be found in the colder sections of the river, to the exclusion of other fish in the higher mountain regions. In the south, the southern lysh pike prowls the murky waters. Several sorts of insects, including several of the biting variety can be found swarming along stagnant pools near the river at dusk. Various mice, including the fuzzle, enjoy the fruit of the wild grasses and trees along the banks as well. watersprogs can be found in groups the higher sections of the river, though none are observed near Ciosa's Rest, and rivermaids can occasionally be found south of the bridge. There are rumours of swamphags dwelling in the parts of the river closest to the Fens and in the Fens themselves, but none of these have been substantiated. It is often mentioned that people need be careful to avoid stepping on one of the bogsnappers that make their homes in the Fens, or a wayward kaimun that has followed the tide in.