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Author Topic: The Voyage through Dragon's Back  (Read 2314 times)
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« on: 10 September 2005, 14:34:00 »

The Voyage Through Dragon's Back


This overview will present a broad-spectrum outlook of Dragon’s Back through a geographic, economic and, where appropriate, cultural standpoint. The entry will then narrow its focus to each of the main settlements structuring the region and give an account of their important features.


The Dragon’s Back is a region in northern Zhun consisting of four villages and the rural communities lining between them assembled under the leadership of the Krean military outpost, Karakan. The region owes its peculiar name to the arc formed by the mountain ranges known among the Krathamar as the “Forefingers of the Earth” just north of the Dragon City.

The key to understanding Dragon’s Back is recognizing the individual spirit of Ktsarmashik, Serekeye, Katkara & Kechit and identify how each contributes to the region as a whole.

As in many other historical examples, the presumption that geography shapes culture holds true for Dragon’s Back (e.g. Ktsarmashik and Katkara’s proximity to the mountains engendered a heavy use of stone in the towns’ architecture while the availability of quality mud in Serekeye stimulated its  mud-brick houses. Likewise, being on the threshold of a small forest prompted wooden construction in Kechit). You may have observed that each of these five main settlements was founded around local water supplies whether they be streams or underground sources as illustrated by the Wine Spring and mineral wells of Ktsarmashik.

We will provide an atmospheric excerpt from Emperor Dearan’s famous work, “A Zhunite Sunset”, to familiarize you with the general feel of the region:


As your cart leaves the Pageant of Blue and White, it jolts carelessly off the mosaic street tiles one last time – perhaps brandishing a final farewell to peaceful Evasnos. A furlay away after a day’s leisurely ride from the City of Gods, sunflowers dot the countryside already. Smile to each curtsying golden-blade, smile to the wind’s welcome, sighing softly through fields awaiting harvest. Wildflowers in their prime meet your passage in their brightest wears; the liberated horse neighs his proud greeting: Welcome to Zhun, welcome to the state of the sun! Far away on each hand stretch rich pastures and patches of maroon soil made ready for the peasants’ corn. There is a remnant still of last year’s golden clusters of beehive ricks rising at regular intervals behind the strips of geranium.  

The headstrong mules pull their carts yet another day north alongside the stately Kimb. Ah the Great Kimb River! How majestic is its interminably rushing waters, how fascinating is its effervescent sprays! Ah how regally he gathers his clear torrents and rides to meet Maren Zyloth in white embroidery!

The surge now takes a broad sweep westward and the wind heralds your arrival to the working north.

Serekeye is already up, displaying her proud earthenware at the busy marketplace. Rows after rows of pottery are left out in the sun to dry, sometimes with the occasional sleeping sentry. Perhaps they tan in imitation of southerly ladies? Perhaps they bask to greet the flirting wind? Wrinkled women sit in vibrant garments before the clay shaping wheels, bent in working meditation to mould those daily miracles. You decide to leave the town scurrying about after familiar toil humming merry Zhunite tunes.

The wilful cart heads eastward towards the plateaus of Kechit, resting now with its headstrong goats and exhausted shepherds. That transition from mud bricks to imperturbable stone pronounces your entry to the northern lands; soon a regiment from Karakan in shining gold-scarlet breastplates will accompany you to the region’s heart. My earnest efforts could not dissuade them from chanting loud enough to bring the mountains on their heads. A light breeze stirs the Mint Plains further east and brings you that refreshing smell so characteristic of the province.

You begin to feel the gentle roll of the green hills; soon vineyards will hail your passage into the time-honoured streets of Ktsarmashik. Quick! Pluck away a bunch of those luscious grapes before the growers notice. Today must be your lucky day; you caught the wine-tasting festival. You are even in time for a folkloric dance! Watch those young men tap ardently around the gyrating maidens. Ah! Breathe in this Zhunitely air! Breathe in the sounds of merriment! Help that little boy steer his donkey up to the wells along a labyrinth of narrow avenues and vine-covered houses. Taste the cool mineral water running from the mossy fountains.

Hurry north, hurry north! The mines of Katkara await! As you traverse the narrow pass of Resonant Gap, you fervently pray the fanatic cries of those Karakanite soldiers will not topple the rickety boulders. After an hour’s passionate praying and sweating the cold mountain gusts welcome you into the realm of gold. Regrettably you missed the change of guards and the gates are now closed. Seeing your High Krean diplomatic passes the ranking officer decides to make an exception and let you in – for a trivial price of course. Do you now understand why you were told to buy three handcarts’ fill of costly textiles in Kimbar? Try not to make this much trouble next time.

After being sworn in by the guards before the Black Altar to never speak of anything witnessed within the walls of Katkara, you are now finally allowed to take your leave for Karakan, where you will spend several weeks taking in the city’s marvels and resting for the arduous journey back home. [...]


Excerpt taken from Dearan Asaen’s “A Zhunite Sunset”:
Tome 4: The Northern March
Chapter 3: Dawn Over the Sleeping North
Section: Introduction: A Northern Cascade
Subdivision: The Voyage Through Dragon's Back



GEOGRAPHY

Landscape
As you travel northeast from Serekeye, the flat, dry terrain gives way to the steep slopes leading up the Kechit highlands. Serekeye’s soil absorbs more and more of the northerly rain and develops into the rich earth of the Mint Plains.

The tiny underground stream watering the terracotta village dies on the mossy crevice known as the Potter’s Shelter located on the southern perimeter of the Kechit Slopes. The slopes themselves are rather barren as there are no underground flows to dampen the soil; on the dry land of the Kechit Slopes nothing more than a few isolated bushes grow. The slopes are named after the infamous goats of Kechit, who appear to be the only creatures (perhaps other than greedy Zhunite merchants) able to scale the rise without exhaustion.

Slowly the Kechit Spring emerges among the pebbles of Stone Valley and rushes south through the Mint Plains nourishing men and plant alike. It then takes a mild westward twist; the Mint Stream, as it’s now called, leisurely runs through Kechit, the village of goatherds and mintmaids. Upon the turbulent waters where Mint Stream issues from the wild Kechit Spring the famous Goat Bridge that gave birth to so many folkloric tales rests.

A few leagues west of Kechit is another overpass under which Mint Stream flows into one of the many tributaries of the Great Kimb. The Sunset Bridge although larger in size and grander in architecture never enjoyed the incredibly fame of Goat Bridge.

If one takes the road northwest from Kechit instead of the well-travelled pathway to the Mint Plains, one will soon meet the green, rolling hills trailing to Ktsarmashik. In springtime a carpet of colourful wildflowers cover these hills, engulfing the land in their beauty and scent. The area around Ktsarmashik has a rich network of underground streams. Because these springs have to travel between layers after layers of rocks to surface, their water often has decidedly mineral characteristics.

North of Ktsarmashik marks the beginning of Dragon’s Back ranges, from which many of the building materials used in the region are excavated. The rocks of these mountains are so rich in ores (especially iron, bronze and gold) that even small, independent Zhunite towns can rival with the gigantic Imperial Mining Facilities scattered elsewhere around the Forefingers in the amount and quality of produce. Katkara, for instance, despite its small size is one of the principal mining sites in northern Zhun.

The land loses its fertility as one travels further northwest. So significant is this lessening of fecundity that only about a third of the area surrounding Karakan can support crops. Even those arable sites are radically infertile compared to the rest of the region. Thus, wheat is Karakan’s main harvest; and even that is delivered in reduced quantities. Most of the outpost’s food stock is imported (or to be more precise, collected as tribute) from the villages under its protection. Limestone and silty soil are characteristics of this part of Dragon’s Back. Kárákán, like most of northern Zhun, is also very rich in mineral deposits: Marble, bronze, iron and coal.

Edited by: Coren FrozenZephyr at: 9/29/05 23:51
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« Reply #1 on: 26 September 2005, 11:58:00 »

Coren, all these look good, but they do not fit in our general templates (as you probably already know). So my question to you is: how do you plan to have this integrated? As library entries? As extensive quotes in some rather large places entries? Though I'm not criticizing the content I'm a bit lost in this new scheme... You should think of a way, so that we can have them up on the site - otherwise we might see some rust spots on them pretty soon :)  

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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #2 on: 28 September 2005, 05:45:00 »

Just give me some time please. I am very busy with fresher's week ;)

Btw, as soon as I have posted a new passage in this thread could you please remove your post and my reply to it?

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"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 #3 on: 28 September 2005, 13:14:00 »

ok ;)  

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Ta`lia of the Seven Jewels
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« Reply #4 on: 28 September 2005, 13:25:00 »

Dear Coren, I'll read it as soon as you have chosen a bigger font size!

***Astropic of the day***
"For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path   that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly. ~Don Juan"

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"For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path  that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking,  breathlessly. ~Don Juan"
***Astropicture of the Day***Talia's Long, Long List***
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #5 on: 30 September 2005, 03:39:00 »

Font improved!

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"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)
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #6 on: 01 October 2005, 12:47:00 »

Can I have some comments on this please?

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"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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