Between the escarpment of the Geato Marsh Plateau and ominous Great Southern Forest is a region of marshy land and incomprehensibly tall trees called the Krishtogalog. The sparsely populated region is home to the Krishtog, the frog-peoples of Desylinn and the name of the massive trees they use to breed and rear their young. The Krishtog form small family groups that act individually with no competition for food or territory. Game is abundant in the region, though dangerous, and the trees that soar hundreds of feet in the air provide ample room for sleeping, scouting, and socializing through the complex harmonious songs that the Krishtog sing. Their sonorous speech and deep resonating voices fill the air with melodious music. Their songs convey the joy they find in life through hunting, exploring or loving. Groups will sing at night near cooking fires retelling tales and legends of their race with complex beautiful harmonies. They also sing to deliver messages through the region and call to protect the birthing trees.
Krishtog trees are massive soaring hundreds of feet into the air, nearly as wide as they are tall the branches have wide hollows that form pools of water collected by the roots and from rain fall. The largest trees act as natural aquifers and waterfalls flow from the pools keeping the waters fresh and pure. These trees are used as the birthing pools for the frog-people. The eldest of the Krishtog race protect the trees, and the younglings that survive and emerge from the pools are taught the basics of survival and the songs of their people. Protection of the Krishtog trees is the only time that the race can be seen fighting together in large groups.
The only city in the region is Qynjb, built in and around the trunk of a dead Krishtog tree. Most of the population is made up of banished criminals, typically from dwarven and lizard folk lands, scouts for the Music Guild of Hub, and those that are resisting the call of the Great Southern Forest. Krishtog frequently visit the city, trading game for the pretty trinkets that can be found there.
Great Southern Forest
South of the Geato Marsh Plateau and the Krishtagolog is the Great Southern Forest, a land with a corrupting magical influence, bizarre creatures and potently magical plants. Created as a monument for the love that the goddess Ariga once had for the god Mar, the vast forest ranges from alpine forests in the rugged foothills of the Blackfire and the Dragon mountains, to thick tropical jungles near the coast.
The magic of the forest infuses the wildlife with strange magical properties. Many plants have innate magical effects, like potions or elixirs. Intelligent animals are common, some awakened creatures, others transformed mortals with animalistic tendencies. Wild fae-like creatures are also found here, created by the magic on mortals as well. The primary residents of the forest are druids, who feel the call of the region, and Treemen, long lived sentient trees that help guard woods from intruders.
One of the most heavily guarded places is The Grove of the First Kiss where Ariga and Mar first made the love they once shared manifest. It is said that anyone who can reach the grove will receive their hearts desire. Treemen, druids and fae guard the grove vehemently with powerful magical wards or brute force, making finding it a nearly impossible task.
Few settlements are found in the forest due to the strange magic of the region, most are small villages or enclaves of druids, fae or animals. The only city, Grandfather, is near the center of the forest and built around one of the sleeping “Darag” a group of elder Treemen tasked with forever guarding the forest. Grandfather soars hundreds of feet high, his crown lost in the clouds above, and can be seen from as far north as the Krishtogalog on a clear day. The city is made up of druids, touched mortals who’ve not succumbed to changes yet and awakened animals. Along the southern coast are scattered human settlements. The strange nature of the forest is slightly weaker here, but has still managed to give the humans a strange preternatural appearance with some gaining magical abilities.
The Fertile Lands
The lands where the legs and loins of the Nameless One fell to the ground after being cast out of the heavens has become a natural uncultivated breadbasket. Splitting the eastern side of the continent with the Blackfire Moutains the Fertile Lands is home to the Gren and the Free Cities of Desylinn. With rich soil, easily recognizable edible plants and abundant wild game, foraging here is an effortless task.
The entire region is crisscrossed with a spider web of roadways and trails that go nowhere. It’s here where the seven Families of the gren wander in their multitudinous tribes and clans. Most ply the roads in large wagons modeled after slave wagons used by the Empire. Others still roam the region with tents and packs, but all use the large hounds called the chulla as pack animals, hunting companions and guard dogs. A Gren clan’s camp is a welcoming sight to weary travelers, their hospitality and reputation for celebration make for a rewarding end to a day’s journey.
The Lands are divided into three distinct areas: To the far north is the Cold Veldt, tundra running west to east along the coast. Though the area suffers from a short growing season it still manages to have an abundant harvest during the short summers. The middle region, called the Green, is a mix of taiga in the north and temperate forests to the south. Full of wild root vegetables, lettuce, asparagus and hundreds of varieties of berries as well as small game it’s a popular route for the Gren. The largest region, the Gold Hills, is the true breadbasket of the land and was controlled by the Empire from the outpost of Tarn Modeshi. Spanning the bottom two-thirds of the Fertile Lands this large plain of rolling hills is broken up by small wooded regions. Grains grow easily in this region with lots of roaming wild herds of grazing animals. Villages of other races can be found through this area, mostly of mixed races though a few Kindred Pits are found in the western portion near the border of Eartlinn.
The Free Cities
Originally only Bann Tordech, Niathal, and Chaido the Free Cities, also known as the Cities of the Lost, were havens for those escaping the reach of the Mariean Empire. The five cities are influential to the regions surrounding them and mark the borders of the Fertile Lands with only Tarn Modeshi in the center in the heart of that region.
Tarn Modeshi sits where the Orginnligh and the Faichligh rivers meet. The city marks the end of the Great Imperial Highway, and was the Empire’s capital fortress for the region. Surrendered without bloodshed during the War of the Five it became a haven for anyone seeking to escape the slaughter. It’s ruled by a council of disparate factions all vying for control of the region, including a large group of human-blooded elves who still maintain significant numbers in the city.
On the border with Eartlinn, the city Qlaz is hailed as the Gateway to the Fertile Lands. Founded by a Lash-tinowish slave caravan that stopped to wait out the War of the Five it maintains a large population of snake-people, as well as humans who descended from the original slaves.
Nestled in the low lying foothills of the Blackfire Mountains is the city Chaido. Thought to originally be an abandoned dwarven outpost from the Age of Myth Chaido is controlled by a council of leaders from Cult of the Unmakers, the Bloody Sacrament of Daikado, a contingent of Blacksmiths that try to keep law in the lawless city and a Mage’s school, made up of mostly wizards. Chaido is a stopping point for those seeking to travel into the Blackfire Mountains.
On the eastern coast is the city of Bann Tordech at the mouth of the Greater Orginnligh River. Bann Tordech, The Warrior’s City, was founded as a refugee village for half-elves during the Mariean Empire. It’s known to ban alchemists as a way to keep out poisons (seen as dishonorable) and most Gren clans. The people of the city are soldiers first focusing on other vocations second and can mobilize into a disciplined military at a moment’s notice.
On the Cold Veldt between the north coast and the Green is the city of Naritha. It’s the smallest of the Free Cities and home to the winter camp of one of the seven Families of Gren. The permanent population is small, mostly hunters and farmers who take advantage of the abundant but short growing season. The town is peaceful with a population of dwarves, Turid Kindred and elves and is one of the few locations outside the Ruins of Old Mariea with a Chantry of Mar. Every few years strange visitors come down from the coast taking “willing” citizens with them when they leave.
Making up the southern half of the eastern side of Desylinn is the strange cursed peaks of the Blackfire Mountains. Named after the black flames that appear on the mountain peaks that can be seen from a great distance, the mountains are cursed, corrupting those who stay too long with physical and psychological changes. It’s here where Bahu hid the worst of the Remnants of the First War and little is known about the mountains or the area beyond them.
Rumors of corrupted mortals and strange abominations are common and those that go into the mountains either never come back or become monstrous. They become larger, grow extra limbs, eyes, mouths, their skin turns to metal, glass, or stone, or they speak with voices not their own. Chaido is the nearest settlement, but rumors persist of monasteries of the Brothers or the Cults of the Unmaker high in the peaks built by mad holy men. One rumored monastery is The Monastery of the Broken Mind, where all the monks have forgotten their pasts.
Tales abound about the mountains: strange race of translucent men, a race of winged four-armed warriors, pools of sentient acid, spells that have gained life or a city made of glass. The few people that have come back and maintained a portion of their sanity have confirmed such stories, saying that is the least of what the mountains and the lands beyond hold.