|Flora and Fauna|
Hyarroc is an ancient land just barely second to Teled Methen, which it borders, though the two are often considered so linked that there might as well be no differences between them. The Allorn Empire once ruled from these core lands, and Hyarroc was once the gateway to The Far West, at least before the end of the Empire’s golden age, and the rise of the Faith of the Dark Ancients. Today, Hyarroc is a chaotic place, still reeling from the end of large scale warfare against the Kathar taking place in the region, and forever changed by their invasion. The Kathar now have a grip on Daen, and many fight every day to pry their fingers from the ancient earth.
Hyarroc was the first region of Aloria to experience the Allorn Empire's expansion, nearly 3000 years ago. Heëlya, as it was known then, is suspected of having had minor pockets of Altalar along its coastline; this has never been proven, as traditional Altalar history states that the land was a wilderness before 2750 BC, when the burgeoning Allorn Empire pushed into it. This time is also thought to align with a similar push north by Talea Sunvidal’s state, into what is now Daendroc. Hyarroc, however, was different from Daendroc for two key reasons; the first was its relative proximity, and the second was the lack of a Varran presence. Even if Altalar lived there before Talea’s expansion as some scholars believe, the region was still ripe for discovery and settlement, which occurred rapidly over the following three centuries. By the time Talea died, the north and west had been secured, with exploration now being carried out into The Far West. Over the Consolidation, hundreds of cities rose across Hyarroc, from the architectural marvels of the Fyror Mountain cities to the grand coastal ports all along the western coastline. These all faced the Far West, and for nearly 1000 years, the leaders of Hyarroc, the merchants, and many others prospered enormously from trade. Many unique stones, gems, and spices poured in from this frontier, and the cities of Hyarroc quickly received it while giving back many other goods in exchange. During this time, the early Fin’ullen formed along the coastline, later being solidified as one of the first subraces of the Altalar people.
When the Consolidation came to an end, Hyarroc’s principalities all began to suffer the same fate as those in Teled Methen: decline. The Suvial, now firmly entrenched in the Sundial Isles, ultimately came to close their borders and cut off, for a long time, the trade in their many exotic spices. As for the rest of the Far West, the growing influence of many Void Cults caused frequent communication breakdowns, before finally, the blackouts became permanent. In the final decades before the Cataclysm, Hyarroc floundered along with Teled Methen, regional politics at the forefront as principalities flickered like candles in the wind. But eventually, that wind became a hurricane with the Wildering. It is unknown how many died with Hyarroc--as nature reclaimed centuries of urbanized terrain--but most guess up to half of the whole Altalar population died in a single year from the magical event, slave uprisings, starvation, disease, and last of all, Orcs. The Orc Invasion only lasted one year, but the devastation was immense. Tanaar Hyä-Ereya, sparsely populated by one of the few states minimally affected by the Wildering in Hyarroc, stood against the Orcs with what few allies it could, but it was devastated. Thousands of its people were carted away, and its two coastal cities were destroyed, reducing it to the single bastion it now holds today. Other states similarly struggled against the Orcs, and by 50 AC, the political and natural landscape of Hyarroc looked very different.
In the two centuries after this, Hyarroc continued to evolve. Despite the devastation of the Orcs, Talant Ilha Faial soon came to prosper as limited trade reopened with the Sundial Isles, and their vast fleet quickly chased off Kathar and Varran pirates. On land, Tanaar Hyä-Ereya became a holy site, and Ol Lavei Fyror became a paradise, isolated high in the air and free from conflict. Elsewhere, on the Llasanar Peninsula, several Altalar principalities arose with a single united purpose: resist the Kathar. Probes from the Fennör Wald and the nearby Shadow Isles dogged these states for decades, but they always had their native Fin’ullen warrior and Teledden mage populations to fall back on. But in 306 AC, Hyarroc broke into chaos. The Kathar invaded with numbers unseen in decades, and the Peninsula, once serving as a bulwark against their attacks, collapsed by the Kathar leadership. Elsewhere, Wolond streamed forth from their Walds, joining their brethren and scouting ahead, seeding the land with corruption and terrible destruction. Only when the Regalian Empire joined with their former Altalar enemies did the Dread War come to an end, of sorts. The Regalian Empire and their Orcish allies retreated back to their own territory, while the Kathar fell into infighting with their regional conquests maintained by semi-rogue local leaders. Today, what states are left in Hyarroc now turned to their brothers in the east, unmolested for decades yet suffering hard during the Dread War themselves. It is unknown if the Kathar foothold on southwestern Hyarroc will remain, or if the corruption unleashed by Kathar Magic will ever fully heal. But there is hope and power in the region left unbroken. Only time will tell if the tide will shift in favor of one force or the other.
Hyarroc is located southwest of the Regalian Archipelago, south-southwest of Daendroc, and west of Teled Methen. The continent is bordered by the Talaï Sea to the north, the Western Calms to its northwestern shores, and the Dark Ocean to its west and southwest. Hyarroc has a highly varied topography, but generally has mountainous, higher altitude terrain in the south before leveling out into open, flat terrain in the north. In the northeastern corner of the landmass sits the Fyror Mountains, a topographically elevated position filled with “spire mountains,” unique geographic features not seen anywhere else in Aloria with such density. Vaulted into the clouds, these mountains gradually become less distinct, normal mountain ranges that run along the southern coastline of Hyarroc. However, as the Llasanar Peninsula begins, these mountains quickly vanish, and the terrain flattens out. The Peninsula's southern-facing portion is pockmarked with caves and cliffs, and the inland terrain is a mix of jungles, swamps, and open fields, often closer to the coast. Just off of the beginning of the Peninsula, where the thicker jungles begin, sits the Fennör Wald. Once relatively small, this area of deep jungles and corrupted life became a haven to the Wolond Kathar coming over from the Dread Empire. Often only a brief stopover, the weakening of the Änkaakro Wald to the east allowed the Fennör to flourish.
The reason for the Änkaakro’s decline is due to the nearby Ularen Plains and the state of Tanaar Llarana. Highly militaristic, and working in semi-cooperation with the regional Avanthar, the Änkaakro’s decline was only halted due to the Dread War. Since that time, it has remained limited in population, and will likely be cleared away within the next three decades. For now, it remains on the doorstep of the western reaches of the Ularen Plains, the vast open space home to arable and pasture land used by the Altalar, Avanthar and Cielothar. Much of the Plains is within Tanaar Hyä-Ereya and is traditionally called the Ereyan Plains as a result. Very open and dotted with archaic statues, the region holds great religious significance to the Altalar. Finally, there is the northern half of the area, and the west and northwest facing coastline. Almost all of this is covered in jungle, though there are a few sparse mountains that feed rivers that form marshlands and swamps. In the very far northeast of Hyarroc, there are more large swamps, the more mundane relatives to the Swamps of the Forgotten, which lay just over the border, in Daendroc. Hyarroc is a generally temperate region, its jungles cooled by the breezes rolling in from the open terrain of the Ularen Plains that dominate the core of the state.The south is often more humid and features extensive rainstorms, mostly thanks to the remnants of storm fronts, hurricanes, and other weather patterns blown down the coastline from Teled Methen and Hadar, or up from nearby Sendras.
Much of Hyarroc’s Flora is the same as in Teled Methen due to untold centuries of trade, travel, and ecological unity between the two continents. Ruby Flowers prosper in fields, jungles, and gardens across the region, while Bloodroot grows prosperous in the same locations, used in tattooing and artwork by many. In the Ularen Plains, Black Grass and Farran Cane add variety and color to the endless rolling fields, as well as useful substances for use by the Avanthar, Yanar, and Cielothar. In the waters of the Daen coastline rest huge clumps of Corpse Weed, a most irritating substance to the Fin’ullen, who dominate the western coastlines. Thickly growing, it fills fishing nets with ease and, once attached to a hull, will rapidly spread itself.
Much in the same way as Flora, the Fauna of Hyarroc has long been intertwined with that of Teled Methen. However, a few beasts do exist solely in Hyarroc. In the dense jungles of the interior, the Black Pathor stalks the night. Sleeker and less aggressive than its cousin, the Great Jungle Cat, the animal is still considered worthy prey by many a hunter and is considerably less rare than its relative as well. Along the coastline, moving slowly and leaving behind a lethal trail is the Grashobaig. With unknown origins, the creature has been a hazard to smaller coastal cities but has dramatically declined in numbers in the past decade. Finally, there are the skies, dominated by many a bird, though none are considered to match the beauty of the Thunderbird and Fire-tail Paradise Bird, both native to the Fyror Mountains. Isolated and in healthy numbers, these sapphire and ruby-flame colored avians often perform a gentle dance in the styles, making a stark dichotomy for those watching.
Politics and Demographics
Hyarroc features a mix of states, most rather new to Aloria thanks to the recent intense warfare between the Kathar and the Altalar. Talant Ilha Faial, a naval superpower hamstrung by a crippling fear of religious superstition, is located in Hyarroc’s northern and northwestern coastline, though it also extends a fair bit inland. Dominating the continent's center is Tanaar Hyä-Ereya, a city-state in control of a massive swath of plains, minor jungles, and swamps. Next to it is a spur of Tanaar Llarana, technically in Hyarroc and playing only a single role in the region’s politics--that of fighting back the Kathar of the Änkaakro Wald. South of these is first Ol Lavei Fyror, living in the clouds and uninvolved in regional disputes for centuries, before Talant Amanra-Assalei rests against the coastline. Home to one of the most active Fin’ullen Altalar presences, and the legendary Scarab Fleet, the Altalar here have fought Kathar at sea and on land for decades, recently proving their mettle in the melee of the Dread War. Proceeding to the west, there are the dual collapsing states of Narseth Fennäs and Narseth Charossa whose mauling by the Kathar had only been reversed by a concerted local effort to eject the invaders, and by the Kathar falling into their own disputes. Finally, there are the four Kathar principalities, Rokh Nyäke, Rokh Aynïa, Rokh Vanteer Ombaal, and Rokh Adëkaye. Formed from carved up, now lost Altalar principalities, the Rokhs now feud amongst each other and launch attacks against Altalar located around them as they fight to survive both internal ambitions and external pressures.
Hyä-Monh, also known as the Sunless City or Ulley’s Spectre, is a more recent city, at least where the Altalar are concerned. It was built at the very end of the Consolidation and is thought by some to be a final bastion of that holy, better time when the Avatars of the Gods walked among the Altalar. The monolithic carvings around the city are also from a similar time and are assumed to have been an imperial project of the era, to fully honor the Avatars and then seat a city amongst their beauty. However, the truth of this is unknown. Hyä-Monh is a classic example of Tanaar architectural style, and one mostly kept intact over the centuries, with plenty of fine golden decor and pristine white stone covering its surface. Its Archmage’s Tower is of a considerable height but doesn’t clear the top of the nearby looming, and unavoidable head of Ulley. In fact, the city is often covered in shadow during the midday to evening, meaning that the only time the city’s splendor truly shines is in the morning when the rising sun casts its sunlight unimpeded onto the architecture. Hyä-Monh is also known for possessing an impressive series of both ancient and modern walls, heavily defending the city from all attackers and thus allowing it to survive as long as it has despite its limited manpower.
Out of the seven armory cities of Talant Ilha Faial, Ylganaësse is often considered the jewel in the crown. Positioned at the tip of a peninsula, the city is also one of the most natural in Aloria. It has several harbors, ranging in scale, and meant for different sailors, from simple fisherfolk in the simple but always busy Hab-lavin Harbor to the decadent, slaver-focused harbor of Gollagelle’s Warf. The citadel city’s design around these harbors is also rather unique, as it sits on a cliff, but rather than force long walks up high vertical steps as well as expose people to attack, the designers of the city sought to instead carve down into the rock. This has resulted in at least a solid third of the city existing within the sheltered protection of the great white rock cliffs that surround Ylganaësse with an underground “Great Ramp” allowing for a slow incline up to the “rear” of the city, which then allows people access either out onto the land routes down the peninsula or to turn around and proceed into the large, aboveground city. Another prominent feature of the region is “Estel Enlightening,” a giant statue carved into a white cliff face that looks out at all harbors and much of the city's eastern side. Presenting the goddess in a very traditional Fin’ullen way, with the eight Altalar Pantheon members bordering her (four on each side), it is over a thousand years old. While water has worn away the lower third of the statue, it remains as one of the most intact examples of Consolidation architecture. The Kathar damaged the statue in their war with the Altalar, but Magic has helped repair the damage.
Seraphim Oxylypha has long been known to Altalar scholars, though it has also been inaccessible to their kind. Centuries ago, during the Consolidation, Altalar stumbled on an extensive Seraph complex located in the deep jungle. They raided the site and recovered much, but their Mages were forced to retreat when they unleashed something described as unstoppable. Over the following years, visits to the site grew rarer and rarer as the Altalar turned to their own politics and issues rather than knowledge of the past. Unfortunately, this allowed others interested in the site to gain access to it with less than honest intentions. By the final years of the Allorn Empire, the site was under the control of Kathar, who turned it into a sort of “training ground” for their Mages. Defeating the Seraph-born constructs of Petralyths, Ytatrons, Petratrons, and more was the ultimate test of a Mage’s skill, and so the “Oxy Challenge” grew in prominence among these Void worshipers. However, the Wildering came, and the Wolond Kathar turned more to the wilds that were now their home. Today, the Seraphim Oxylypha rests somewhere within Fennör Wald and had only been rediscovered once since the Cataclysm, by an Altalar scholar named Iri’is Penthaï. He reported that the Wolond Kathar still guard the site, which is overgrown with jungle and harbors fearsome Magus creatures that lurk within the dark corridors.
Ziggurat of Pakarath
The Ziggurat of Pakarath is a new structure, built by the Kathar of Rokh Adëkaye in glorification of the Arken of Death. They see the being as worthy of such worship as it has delivered them such great success in the Dread War to the point that the Kathar are now back on mainland Daen in a major way. The Ziggurat is carved from black stone imported from the Shadow Isles and Saivale, with steps up, it passed wall murals while an internal chamber is enormous and features a genuinely vile necropolis. The murals and interior of the structure feature the corpses of the dead entombed into the walls as artistic features and representations of the weak, defeated, and overpowered at the mercy of Kathar figures carved atop them. Some of these skeletons are positioned in particular poses, achieved due to metal rods pushed through the forms, while it is also reported that many Altalar Undead are currently trapped in the piles the bodies inside of the walls, causing the accumulation of corpses to shift and adjust every so often. A few are even posed figures, trapped at odd angles, and still conscious of what has happened to them. The Ziggurat is topped by a grand statue of the Arken of Death itself, with Kathar statues around it bowed in submission, with empty spots for living Kathar to take a place and bow as is shown by others.
- Hyarroc is also supposedly the site of the last stand of the Green Forest Dragon, though that city’s exact location is currently unknown.
- Hyarroc likely has its current name thanks to Ailor slaves who called the area “High Rock,” which the Altalar of later times morphed into Hyarroc when Modern Altalar developed.