The Alianian Hills, located between the Istarin Forest and the Seanian Swamp, dwell in a peaceful strip of land between the Adanian and Ancytharian Seas in the province of Enthronia in northeastern Santharia. Because of the large bodies of water on either side, the climate remains rather mild. The Dogodan hobbits live peacefully here, with houses built into the hills and gardens planted into the fertile earth.
Alianian Hills are a picture of simple serenity. The closeness of the hills to
two masses of
keeps things cool and mild, and thus plants flourish here. Often, however,
perhaps because of the soil, little grows with as much thriving exuberance as
the acorn grass, which springs up in verdant tufts of chartreuse and gentle
green. The grass, bending and lifting with the pressure of passing breezes, is
always in motion, and seems perennially green. Up until late autumn the hills
will glisten green before carefully turning to a golden yellow when the winter
finally overcomes it.
Hardly is there snowfall over the hills, but when winter comes and the grasses have withered with seeds sown deep, waiting for the spring to arrive, the rain falls to feed the ground. The winter rainstorms can often send little hobbits scurrying home, but even the young ones know that the glints of falling rain will help to make the spring time lush and fruitful.
The grasses and flowers grow anew in early spring, as though each seedling were anxious to poke its little head through the earth to meet the gentle sun. Things tend to grow rather quickly in the Alianian Hills, especially in spring.
Soft breezes from the seas to the east and west glide through the grass, carrying reminiscence of ocean spray and salts and the fragrance of all the flowers and trees touched on its path inland. Rarely are such breezes bitter, and even during the cold season they seem uplifting and kind. The trees sprinkled here and there in the hills, primarily white oak, are always whispering through their leafy canopies under the musical touch of wind.
There are a few, small forests in the hills. The forests are not typically very dense, and tend to grow between hills, in the small vales and valleys between where hills rise up. Though some hobbit children rumor there are monsters or beasts living in the forests, the truth is that many of the woods are harmless, containing few or no wild beasts. The forests are simply too small, and are typically only inhabited by vagrant deer and small rodents. The white oak is the main tree growing in these forests. It is the great concentration of white oaks throughout the Alianian Hills that has lead it to be called “The Acornlands”.
Of course, the most prominent feature of the Alianian Hills is indeed the hilly landscape itself, rising from the earth like maternal curves. Some of them are rather small, measuring hardly a dash in diameter, to those that measure more than half a league. They are hills, however, and thus do not reach so high toward Grothar’s sky as the mountains to the north. Never are the hills topped with snow, though they may be topped with a small congregation of trees. They are rounded on top, and the highest hills measure a little more than half a dash.
Small rivers and streams are common in the hills, though many of them are dry in the warm summer months. In late autumn and spring, however, the soft babbling of water can be heard as streams wind between hills, through forests and past small villages. The Alianian Hills are situated on land slightly higher then the surrounding terrain, so the streams wander off, both eastwards and westwards (a phenomenon that puzzles wanderers and hobbits alike for a while until it was discovered that the hills were slightly uneven in height in some places, so some streams emptied in the Ancytharian Sea and others, the Adanian Sea).
Lakes are scattered throughout the hills, usually located in nooks between the hills, provide the local residence with a more permanent water source, and fish that dwell in the waters, as well as useful plants that grow along the shore, such as the yealm. These lakes, like the Alianian’s forests, are small, usually about a dash in the widest portion. The depth of the water is unknown (very few of the inhabitats have never really cared, much less boated into the middle of the lakes to find out). The most popular lakes are the Dombel Lake (located in the northwest) and the Popin Lake (located slightly south of center). Both lakes are named after hobbits who are said to have discovered them, and by accounts of many of the hobbit families in the area of these lakes, these two hobbits seem to be related to every hobbit currently living in the Alianian Hills.
All the roads through the Alianian Hills are gravel and dust, even inside the small villages tucked within the hills. Because so few wanderers really stop by these villages, most roads to the hills are small, only a few peds wide, enough for a horse and a cart. As for the villages, they are made of modest dwellings, all carved out of the hills, probably due to the fact that most of the population is hobbit. The houses are usually rather small to fit the lifestyle of the hobbit, and sometimes contain rooms of storage where a hobbit may collect the various presents he or she receives. The doors and windows of the dwellings are round. Being in the ground, these hobbit holes may interconnect under the ground, and work like huge mansions under the earth. Such hobbit holes are called smials.
Many hobbits have taken to creating front yards to their houses, usually enclosed by a fence (picket is the common style - any other style is thought to be rather peculiar). Within this yard, various vegetables and flowers grow under the care of their owners. Sometimes the houses even have stone pathways leading to the front door. Of course, all decorations are done in moderation. Only important buildings, such as the council, are very decorated, and are usually dug into larger hills.
Because of the winds that blow constantly through the landscape, hobbits have erected windmills across the Alianian Hills where they can grind their wheat into flour. Sometimes traders and travellers will journey from the north to make use of the mills. The windmills have four blades that are guided by the wind, and help to grind the grains inside.
Location. The Alianian Hills are located between the Adanian Sea and the Ancythrian Sea. These two bodies of water are what keep the climate in the Alianian Hills so mild. North of the Alianian hills lie the Istarin Woods where dwell the Jhellhelrhim. The Seanian Swamp rests just south of the hills, and the rough travelling through this area is perhaps one reason that few wander into the hills from the south.
|Picture description. The location of the Alianian Hills in northeastern Santharia, between the Ancythrian and the Adanian Sea, close to the Seanian Swamps and the Istarin forest, home of the Jhehellrhim elves. Maps drawn by Artimidor.|
People. The Alianian
Hills belong wholy to the
Dogodan Shire Hobbits that live a peaceful existence within the rolling
hills and windy grasses. The
hobbits, requiring hills in which to make
their homes, find a perfectly suitable habitat in the hills, which provides the
resources needed to live comfortably. The terrain is also extremely fertile,
which allows for another cultural aspect of the
halflings: that is, their natural inclination towards gardening and
planting. Rarely does one find a hobbit
hole without a small garden out front, behind the white fences standing quietly
along the road.
This hobbit tribe is considered to be some of the purest hobbits, given their seclusion. Their hair is typically light in color; usually a light brown or blond, and their eyes tend to vary from light brown to light blue. They are small little creatures, as are most halflings, averaging a height of a little less than a ped. Like all hobbits, they have large feet with hairs that allow them to travel without need of boots.
Coat of Arms/Sign. Coat of Arms for the Acornlands is the same as it is for the Dogodanshire hobbits. That is round, derived from the Helmondsshire’s coat of arms. Also like Helmondsshire hobbits and all tribes, they use a green leaf in their design, usually of a verdurous and bright green color with a serrated edge like an oak’s. This, of course, is because they live in hills where large, ancient oaks are popular among these Acornlands. The leaf is laid across the coat of arms with its point at southeast.
Across it, on top, is a lute (or so it is called, though many say it’s a violin or else a guitar). This symbolizes the tribe’s love of music. Often the body of the lute is made of a rich brown color with shiny strings.
Climate. The fertile hills of the Alianian Hills are prone to only very mild weather. Being situated between two bodies of water (the Ancytharian Sea and the Adanian Sea), the climate remains rather nice, being warm in the summers and cool in the winters, and not fluxing too much between seasons. The greatest threat to the hills is perhaps random hurricanes, most of which become weak once they have hit the shore. Sometimes the winds of the two seas can cause mild tornados, but because of the hilly surface, many tornados don’t last long. The housing of the hobbits, being mostly underground, has allowed them to live a rather comfortable lifestyle away from the angry winds.
For the most part, the hills are very quiet and calm, though there are always light winds whirling about the trees, over the grasses and through the dusty streets of hobbit villages. The winds give the scent of sea and surf, which is often refreshing and calming, and in a deep breath can calm one’s nerves.
The rainy season starts in late fall and carries all the way to mid spring. Often times, these rains are sweet and light. Spring rains are known for being refreshing and gentle, as though they landed on the ground only to feed the delicate sprouts that carefully push their heads through the earth. Some say the winds are gifts from Jeyriall, while others have even claimed to see Eyasha floating through the silvery rain clouds, “showering the world with peace”. But not all the rains are so mild. During the winter, storms over the ocean can be blown to shore. These rainstorms can be very violent, and each streak of silver rain can glint like a blade to strike the earth. The winds tear deep scratches in the muddy earth, and lightening lights the angry sky, sometimes striking a tree, though most trees live through the events.
The changes through the seasons are very apparent in the Alianian Hills, where trees, especially white oaks accentuate the colours of the season. In spring, the white oaks slowly begin to form their lovely leaves and acorns, which give the bare branches some life. It is during this time that the aelirels, who have seemed to vanish all together in the winter months, appear again to fill the sky with sailing song. Flowers will open up, and, should a traveller wander through the hobbit towns, they’d find the population busying themselves with planting new growth.
The summers are very warm, and rather humid due to how close the hills are to the seas. The hobbit population, not being all too fond of swimming, will sometimes sprinkle their skin with water to keep themselves cool, and wear light clothing. The white oaks are filled with leaves at this time, and the rustle of the canopy and the sway of lazy grasses are very characteristic of summertime in the Alianian Hills.
Picture description. Scene from the Alianian Hills during autumn. Image drawn by Ingeborg.
The autumn might be regarded as one of the most beautiful seasons in the
Alianian Hills. The acorn grasses turn a rich, golden color and make the hills
seem as though they might be made of pure gold. The
oak trees turn brilliant colors, like deep
scarlet and yellow, and their leaves, in the cool
winds, are flown up into the air before
descending to the ground. The leaves all fall and many of the
hobbits are preparing for the winter during
this time. Some hobbits will make new
hobbit doors and window frames that are
strong enough to take the winter rains.
The winter is known for these rains and rainstorms. The oak trees, by this time, will have lost all their leaves, and their white, barren branches may resemble skeletons of what they once were. A few trees may be struck by lightening, causing them to grow in strange ways in the years to come, though most survive the ordeal. The grasses will all be withered by this time, and be mostky reduced to string brown blades on the ground, which often becomes muddy.
Mythology. The creation of the Alianian Hills is said to reach all the way back to the Time of Myths, when the world was still new. It is said that during this time, dragons were a common sight. Most of them stayed in their selective locations: the firedrakes and dragons stayed around the volcanoes, while those of the sea stayed close to the oceans. However, the horned drake, it is said, was a capricious and dangerous creature. Though they resided mostly on the mountains, they would often fly down into villages and burn houses, destroy crops, and even eat the livestock.
The townspeople, it is said, prayed for help from the destruction of the horned drakes, and gentle Urtengor answered their prayers. With his large hands he plucked the beasts from the sky and cast them deep into the ground between the Istarin Forest and Seanian Swamp. He covered them with earth and rock. The rest of the horned drakes, frightened of the might of Urtengor, ceased their attack of the towns, and many of them traveled northward to the Tanadalas to hide. There they would lie until the Dragonstorm.
The mounds (hills) of the Alianian Hills are now believed to be where these drakes are buried, and serve as reminders of the power of the gods. It is believed that most of these dragons are now dead, but many speculate some are still living deep within the earth; hate fueling their heart, waiting to be unearthed. Hobbits therefore still shun the larger mounds when they dig new homes into the hillside, fearing that they might uinearth a dragon Urtengor buried there a long time ago...
Flora. The most predominant plant on the Alianian Hills is the acorn grass, which grows almost exclusively on these hills, over the fast slopes and even in the gentle nooks between them. The grass, because it is so prominent, has become a most notable characteristic of the Alianian Hills, swaying in springy green to the light winds that wind through them. Though light green in spring, a deeper green in summer, they turn to a golden yellow in the early to mid autumn, and because of their omnipresence on the hills, changes the look of the area in its entirety.
The grasses cloak upon the hills lifts only for a few sections of flowers that pop up through the soil. The dalferia is one of these, it can be found in various places throughout the Alianian Hills. The hobbits of the area will grow these plants in their gardens, too, not only for their edible green seeds, but also for their beautiful flower, which can grow in any number of bright and attractive colors. The flower also has special significance to the hobbits, being the symbol of one of their deities, Dalireen.
The common sunflower also grows within the Alianian Hills. Although most associate the sunflower with being a plant of the Elverground, the plant can grow well here as well, with the constant breezy atmosphere of the hills. Not all plants, however, can take the direct wind, and many grow in the ridges of the hills. These include the lorahough and yahrle, both of which are collected and used by the local hobbits. Because the winters can be very wet, many hobbits have taken to collecting the lorahough to use them as fire-starters in the winter, while the yahrle is used to treat all sorts of medical conditions.
Small forests grow in the ridges between the hills, and within and around them can be found all sorts of plants, in particular the allia, which produces a berry sometimes used to dye clothing, but is handled very carefully because of it’s poisonous nature. The redberry bush also grows well here, usually just outside the forests, close to streams or small rivers. In autumn, when the bush’s berries turn sweet enough to eat, hobbit children parade about the bushes, collecting them to make into jams.
The small forests that run throughout the hills are home to a plethora of trees. Birches throw in small clusters throughout, usually just inside the forests, while maples claim larger pieces of ground to spread out their branches. The birches give the hobbits parchment paper of which to write their songs and documents, though most keep such things inside their head. The maple supplies the towns with delicious syrup that can top desserts or little taste treats. Within the forests, in dusty dells, grow small patches of shade grass. Both in and around the forests grow mushrooms, of which the hobbits are extremely fond, and regularly collect for various dishes.
The white oak is undoubtedly the most prominent tree in the Acornlands. Not only does it dominate the forests of the Alianian Hills, but it can also grow sparsely by itself, sometimes even daring to take root on the top of windy summits. In almost every portrayal of the Alianian Hills is there a picture of the tree, perhaps in the background, or else the rendition takes place in or under the canopy. The white oak helped give the Alianian Hills their nickname of the “Acornlands”. In autumn occurs “the falling”, when all the acorns begin to drop and cover the ground for all the little kuatus and other forest rodents to collect and gobble up. The hobbits have made a hearty collection of recipes in which the main ingredient are acorns.
Though the hobbits get a lot of the nutrition from the surrounding terrain, many of them have also taken to planting gardens, in which they will grow lyth’bélls, pease, and pompions, all of which they will use in various dishes and recipes. Other flowers and plants are planted purely for decorations, but such does not occur often, for the hobbits’ love of gardening is often rivaled only by their love of cooking.
Fauna. The Alianian Hills may at first appear to be void of any animal life at all. Even the hobbits can be hard to find, given their homes are hidden away inside the hills. It is true that most of the life in the Alianian Hills is tucked away within the scattered forests.
The prieta dwells in the forest, grazing upon the shade grass that grows inside the forests in small clearings. When hobbit meets prieta, it seems as though both parties are equally frightened by each other, and for this reason, hobbits typically avoid treading too deep into the forest.
There is perhaps better reason for not journeying too deeply into the forest, though. Some animals, such as the wild pig, which can often times be violent if provoked, dwell here. The twin tusks protruding from the upper jaw could easily impale, and thus, the forests are, for the most part, left alone by the residence of the hills, though sometimes a traveller may journey through the forest in search for a meal.
Hobbits tend to much prefer the small rodents that scurry outside the forests, or else just inside the forest where they deem it safe to hunt. Kuatus, that which the hobbits call “quirrls,” is just one of these rodents. Though kuatus typically live up in the treetops, many will journey down to the ground to search for food, and sometimes hobbits will try to catch one in hopes of making it a meal. Catching these critters, however, isn’t easy. All they need is a tree for them to escape.
Most of the woodland animal meet the hobbits get is rabbit meat. Tareps can be found scampering through the forest, as well as through the ridges of the hills. Often called “coonies” by the hobbits, these rabbits may be caught through traps (as they typically are by the hobbits) or through use of a spear or bow and arrow (neither of which the halflings are too versatile with). The rabbits themselves live happily here, reproducing quickly inside of rabbit holes scattered throughout the area.
Rolling hedgehogs also find some sanctuary within the woods, though they aren’t as inclined to leave the safety of the trees. They, along with some other rodents, prefer to remain in the shadows. Many mice are the same, and build their homes deep in the forest where they are not easily seen. Despite their best efforts, though, many mice still fall victim to the wood owl, who also lives in these small forests, often in hallow trees. Oftentimes their haunting call can be heard through the night.
But the wood owl must share the night skies with another aerial critter: the bat. Most of these bats spend the daytime deep in the dark forests, where the canopy is laced so thick that very little sunlight can penetrate to the forest floor. There they hang, like strange ornaments, waiting for night, during which time they take to the skies, feasting upon insects. Though the appearance of bats frightens many children, perhaps reminded of demons by the look of their leathery wings, most adults know that the bats help to control the amount of biting bugs in the area.
The aelirels thrive in this area, sailing on the winds and doing wonderful aerial dances high above the trees. These white-plumed birds hold special significance to the residence of the Alianian Hills, because the bird is one of the representations of Dalireen, the hobbit deity of music, dance, and storytelling. The aelirels in this region have appendages of an orangey coloration, due to the mild temperatures.
Field mice that are able to stand the windy and muddy winters find a lot of enjoyment in the hills, and are one of the main prey animals for the green grass snake that slithers through the grasses. Despite the grasses shortness in length, it is still able to hide rather well in the hills. And it’s a good thing, too, as often times hobbit children (mainly boys), will wander through the grasses searching for a snake to catch, though they may come back in tears with a harmless snake bite on their finger.
The residences of the hills don’t typically keep many pets, but will keep livestock. Because of the size of halflings, they aren’t ones to keep large animals like horses or cows, and tend to rather keep pigs, sheep, and small riding ponies. Some halflings will also keep teanish in coops or in their front yard, though one must be careful to watch out for red foxes. Though the red fox does not live in too great a number here, a few individuals might be seen.
Resources. The wind of the Alianian Hills is an important resource in and of itself, utilized through the use of windmills that use the breezes to grind wheat and other grains into flour, used to bake bread and pastries, of which some hobbit bakeries are renown for. Some traders from up North, as far as the Heath of Jernais, come to the Alianian Hills to have their grains ground cheaply by these mills.
The closeness of the Alianian Hills to two seas supplies them with overwhelming resources from either side. Trysters and oysters can be harvested along the shore, and the pearls within them can be sold throughout Santharia. Sea-salts gained by leaving pools of seawater in the sun are a precious commodity, able to preserve pieces of meat for the winter, and also used as a seasoning. Then, there are the vast quantities of fish found in the waves.
However, the Alianian Hills themselves have a lot to offer, despite being surrounded by many useful resources. The various lakes in the hills are filled with delicious fish, and even freshwater crabs can be found searching for food along the shores. These freshwater pools, however, are probably most useful for providing a source of freshwater that can be used for irrigating crops. That is, if one does not have one of the various streams running by them. The streams can provide a drinkable source of water for men and hobbits alike.
The soil of the Alianinan Hills is very fertile if a plant can stand the constant winds that glide over the valleys. The hobbits have made good use of this resource by planting a variety of different plants in the area, and tending well to them so that they flourish despite the windy conditions. Small crops can be planted in the ridges between the hills where the wind is not so strong to produce a plentiful harvest. Some of the plants that grow naturally on the hills, such as the redberries and the dalferia, produce edible seeds and berries used in various recipes and dishes.
Myth/Lore. There have been, in its time, many rumors and myths about the hills that seem to keep an insidious peacefulness that most races distrust. One of the most popular relates back to the creation of the hills, believed to be created when Urtengor punished the horned drakes who attacked townspeople by burying some of the beasts under layers upon layers of earth and rock. Some believe that some of these dragons are still alive, and that they lie in wait to be unearthed, or to gain enough strength to be set free to take their revenge.
If the thought of living drakes lying in wait under the hills weren’t enough, many believe that the spirits of those drakes haunt the forests and the trees: that they are angry spirits who, if provoked, can do terrible things. However, there have been no instances, in which anything related to these spirits has occurred, save for the strange shadows in the forest and across the moon, which noone can really explain. Though hobbits have been making their underground homes in the hills for hundred of years, none have yet come across a waiting drake.
But ghostly dragons aren’t the only creatures believed to haunt the hills. The many birches growing in the small forests of the hills are believec to host the spirits of maidens who call to wanderers as they pass by and lure them into the shadows. There have been a few rare cases where people went for a walk or were wandering out of town and were lost, gone as though they never exist, and never heard from again. Stories like these do well to keep children in their homes at night.
Whether the stories are true or not, most people seemed to have believed them up until the Dragonstorm. The hobbits arrived at a lush stretch of hills and valleys completely unoccupied. Though some elves and humans may still believe the myths, most hobbits shrug it off as being “poppycock”.
Information provided by Rayne Avalotus