Apr 27, 2012
Regions of the Valley (3) - Darkearth Plains
The Darkearth Plains is a region in the northern part of the valley, slightly west of the central point. It is bordered on the north, by the Destriel Mountains, and along the southern edge by the Great River. The western boundary for the region is the Lost Mare river, and along the east edge the boundary is the Greywater River. The other major waterways in the region are the Nightwash River, and the Terrapin River.
The region takes its name from the rich, dark black soil that is common throughout the region, with the exception of two areas - the Great Owl Forest (the ground of which is covered by thick, thick layers of decaying leaves, over a more generally sandy loam undersurface), and the Aghanz Hills, which feature a dry dusty and sandy soil, very rocky.
I am working up maps now, using Hexographer, and Autorealm, and should release some very soon.
The peoples of Darkearth include three cities of Westron humans (Khomaes, Werms and Huygen). There are, in addition, a number of tribes of Storm King barbarians in the region, especially in the north east, up along the very broad Greywater River, and in and around the Riven Moor, on both sides of the Terrapin River.
There are several portals that frequently appear to the Seely Court in the Great Owl Forest, and also in the Harp Woods. This means that Wood Elves, as well as other Faery races, are not uncommon.
The Aghanz Hills are home to both the Star Tower (seat of power and learning for the Silver order of druids), as well as the gnome stronghold at Flintgate. These areas are both well patrolled and guarded by their own interests, but much of the rest of the Aghanz remains rough, open, hilly and rocky country. There is a presence, of a curious group of tribes of large, primitive men that do not have a spoken language, and do not work with or use metal of any sort. They are called, simply, the hillmen by the druids of Star Tower, and the shagmen by the gnomes of Flintgate. It is reported that they are vicious cannibals.
Dwarves have some strongholds throughout the Destriel mountains. In some of the deeper delvings and cave systems, there are permanent portals to the Unseely Realms (mostly goblins and their related filth, as usual).
Roaming the region to the west, near the Lost Mare River, are the intelligent horses of the Great Herd. A single herd in name only, roaming groups of these very large, very intelligent horses do all seem to answer to the leadership of the Great Khan of All Horses.
Splitting the region, from west to east, is the King's Highway, as always providing a huge barrier between the north and south part of the Darkearth Plains. The Lost Mare river flows under the highway, in a broad and fabulous lock system, built by the Old Ones, and lined in marble. That part of the highway is patrolled by, and made safe by, companies of spearmen from Khomaes. Further east, however, especially as the highway draws near to the Great Owl Forest, the area just north of the highway is known as the Horned Run. It is home to tribes of broo, known as the Horned Ones. Wicked, unsociable creatures, they have a heartless and sadistic culture, and seek to prey on all who wander into the region.
The point where the Nightwash River leaves the Destriel Mountains, down into the plains (just west of the Aghanz Hills), there is a cliffwall at the edge of the mountains, the Nightwash forming a mighty waterfall (Nightwash Falls). Along that cliff edge, a curious and very valuable marble-like stone is found, called Amberstone. A group of human and dwarven miners operate a mining operation here, cutting out huge blocks of Amberstone. It is then floated south to various trading concerns south of the King's Highway, by air travel. The air travel is accomplished by having a curious breed of giant snail that lives on the cliff face near the Nightwash Falls. Called the great blue skysnail, this creature has a shell with magical (levitating) properties. The miners have methods of luring the snails to cover a block of amberstone, and a "blockrider" will ride the floating block of stone south, towards the various destinations.
Where the Nightwash (a broad and fast flowing river) finally reaches the Lost Mare River (in the middle of the grazing lands of the Great Herd), there are vast openings into the earth, along the edge of the Nightwash. Splinter flows of the vast river flow down into those openings, and form free-fall waterfalls down into the underearth. Deep, deep below the water falls into the vast underearth sea that is home to the Dark Elf buccaneer kingdoms. The openings are watched after by warrior horses of the Great Khan.
Along the southern end of the Lost Mare River, as it broadens to eventually join the Great River, it opens up into a flooded basin, known as the Arriott Bottom swamp. Curious tribes of lizard men, and other related saurial races, are found here.