Located south of the
Santharian capital of
New-Santhala, in the Sanguian province not far from the border of
Manthria the coast south-east of the town of Salóh.
This region, where the land borders the Gulf of Maraya, is often considered
wet, dangerous and unpleasant. One of several natural defenses to the city
itself including the treacherous Woecape that has claimed more ships than many
care to count.
Description. Grim and desolate, spectacular and majestic, wet and dry, any section of the Salóh Coast might have nothing in common with another, from the shrouded Mist Marsh, to the foreboding Woecape itself. The area has claimed any number of corpses over the ages, of ships and of men, so much so that the area is now generally avoided because of its inherent dangers. The Bluffs of Bran, standing tall and impassable to the west of the Woecape, guard the foggy Mist Marsh from the wind, keeping it under a near perpetual fog bank that hides sudden storms that occasionally wrack the rest of the region. The high cliffs make it impossible to land even the smallest of boats or ships anywhere until one has almost passed Salóh by.
Known to sailors since the settlement of the region before the First Sarvonian War, the Woecape is an imposing cliff, jutting out from the mainland into the Har’leve’them Bay from the south of the Mist Marsh. The Woecape is well known to sailors, it being avoided because of its inherent reputation, unlike other areas of the Gulf of Maraya. Ships are notorious for having been smashed against the cape itself, or against one of the smaller islets, the “Woerocks“ that give the area its ominous name. Waves have been seen to crash that are estimated to exceed heights of four peds as they beat against the grim granite cliffs, and many ships have been caught by some unseen reef and ripped to pieces as the waves slowly beat them about. Small whirlpools often form in the narrow channels between the islets, moving the water in awkward currents between the Woerocks and the Woecape.
A veritable constellation of islets surrounding the Woecape like so many jagged teeth, the Woerocks may be more dangerous than the rest of the area put together.
Woerocks range in size from small rocks only visible at low tide to veritable monstrosities which conservative estimates place at 14 peds square around, and some 23 peds tall. One common feature of the Woerocks is their porous quality. Most, if not all of the Woerocks, are dotted with holes of varying size and shape. Some of these are small enough that the wind whistles through them, producing an eerie noise like a low moaning, or wailing. Others have holes in them large enough for a rather tall man to stand in, while broken arches among other rocks attest to holes once as large as four or five peds across. Conservative estimates, not counting the smaller "invisible" rocks, place the total number of islets at 42, with perhaps twenty smaller objects that do not consistently remain above the waterline. More prominent rocks have acquired names over the years, and are used as landmarks when seen, though because of the difficulty of pinpointing a given rock, there are at least seven rocks dubbed "Demon's Perch".
“Foggy, boggy and smoggy, since awful doesn’t end in -oggy” is the description often given by human visitors to the region. The Bluffs of Bran to the west guard the Marsh from the west wind which would normally push away the persistent bank of fog that covers this region. Few but the hardiest plants push out of the wetland, which would normally teem with life. Deprived of the light of the sun by the cloud of fog, the region is best left untraveled. Sudden sinkholes in the bog have been thought to have claimed at least half as many travellers as the Woerocks have ships, and the storms that issue from the fog and over the cliffs (called “Marsh Mail” by sailors who watch for them) are known to leave ship decks half flooded and sails straining before disappearing into a lightly covered sky as quickly as they appeared.
Named for minor explorer in the early days of the kingdom under Santhros, Bran Vranko (ca. 14-17 b.S – ca. 16-19 a.S.) the Bluffs of Bran are a series of plateaux, ending in cliffs to the west of the Marshes. The cliffs are covered in a heavy brush that obstructs wind that might move some of the fog in the Marsh to the east as much as they obstruct vision.
Location. The Salóh Coast occupies an easterly section of the Santharian province of Sanguia, to the south of the elven town of Salóh, west of the Auturian Woods, and south of the capital of New-Santhala. The Mist Marsh and Woecape lie to the south and southwest of Salóh respectively, while the Bluffs are placed to the southwest of the city.
People. The Salóh Coast
has most often been frequented by merchant sailors, their boats and the corpses
and wrecks of those unfortunate enough to run afoul of the reefs and rocks of
the Woecape. Merchants have long since avoided the Woecape and now prefer to
wait to enter Salóh, rather than attempt the dangerous
passage. The Bluffs of Bran are not often visited, those who do are in search of
some of the herbs that grow well in this area and the Mist March is completely
devoid of habitation or travel, save for those attempting to hide in the
persistent fog, those who become lost for one reason or another, and the corpses
of the previous two groups.
Climate. The Salóh Coast is a wet region, prone to fog, winds and sudden storms. It is likely for one to encounter fog any number of days of the year, though locals assert that it’s foggy at least one day out of three. This claim, though seemingly inflated, is quite accurate, unfortunately for the sailors who ply the waters, as much as for any unfortunates attempting to pass through the area.
Flora. Several varieties of marsh grass, reeds and fungi can be found in great abundance in the Mist March, while hardy varieties of lichen and moss cling to sheltered sections of the Woecape’s face. The Bluffs of Bran are a medley of bushes, weeds and the occasional tree or herb, including trinity herb and the daylong flower, growing in certain sheltered areas among the bushes where they are not exposed to the wind, mostly hollows where one might accidentally trip were it not for the preponderances of other plants fencing off these depressions.
|Picture description. Sightings of wailwomen are often reported at a cemetery near the Woecape bordering the Mist Marshes... Image by BKiani.|
Fauna. Seabirds have
been known to roost in holes in the Woerocks for short periods of time,
particularly the marayanthian gull as well as barnacles on the lower reaches
that are exposed to the tide on a regular basis. Numerous varieties of biting
insects make their homes in stagnant pools in the Mist Marsh, as well as several
types of fish including minnows and
mithralfish. The Bluffs of Bran also hold their share of animals, small
rodents mostly field mice and similar make their homes here, as well as rabbits
and occasionally cuuloo or badgers. Fish
sighted in the waters around the Woecape are
assumed to live in the area around the cliff itself, including yellowtail and
other members of the barsa family.
Myth/Lore. Stories of people throwing themselves onto the rocks from the Woecape are often associated with tragic romances, and may have fed rumours of a wailwoman that surround the area and even the Mist Marshes to some extent. More sceptical scholars assume that the passage of wind through small holes in the cliff face may be responsible for the eerie wailing heard from both above and below, seemingly without cause or discernable source.
Will'o'wisps are said to haunt the deeper reaches of the marsh and local stories of them waylaying and distracting travellers by leading them further into the bog, often to their doom, are quite easy to find.
The most familiar is the story of a group of orcish troops, under Saban Blackcloak ascending the cliffs to attempt to attack Salóh. A lone herbalist (whose name is unfortunately lost to the mists of time) led the orcs astray into the Mist March and there they ran afoul of the wisps. Bits of bone that are occasionally found in the Marsh or around it after a particularly strong storm often seem to be orcish, including a complete skull which now sits proudly on the mantle of the market supervisor, Golthaim.
Some, including self-titled "researcher" Waudrin Ghortz, have attriibuted this to the effect of the marsh air and the mist on the mind rather than any supernatural intervention or malevolence. Ghortz has said he intends to write another book "covering minor delusions, superstitons and fancies". Reliable reports have it that Ghortz's next book will deal with white ladies, wailwomen and wisps.