|Flora and Fauna|
Farah’deen is a colorful, wind-swept continent that dominates the central-eastern face of the known world. It is the home of the Qadir and the Songaskia peoples. While the majority of the world sees Farah’deen as a land of flat, endless desert, the truth is far from the bleak assumptions of outsiders. The continent is a breath-taking mosaic of sweeping desert canyons, ever changing inland seas, and verdant valleys teeming with natural beauty and vast cities. Sandy dunes may still dominate large swathes of the terrain, but much like the dark-skinned people that inhabit it, Farah’deen is layers deeper than the casual glance that most deign to give.
Some scholars claim that Farra, the original supercontinent that Farah’deen was formed from, is the birthplace and cradle of Humanum. Yet, little is known of the land’s prehistory, and the only traces of such a bygone time are mysterious ruins found in every corner of the continent. Even the smallest mound of rubble tells stories of unwritten and far away times. Parched husks of dams and ports may rise from the most arid and inland dunes, while many of the unpredictable and shifting bodies of water within the continent hide the eroded remains of ancient settlements. Even in the most remote reaches of modern Farah’deen sit the humble leavings of civilizations so old that time has forgotten, hidden by valleys, immense deserts, and impassable terrain.
At some point before 600 BC the reign of the Sariyd Empire began. The Sariyd were a technocratic and isolationist people who stood as contemporaries to the Elven Empire in the western continents. Save for the few scraps of information regarding the Sariyd found from ancient Nelfin reports, little remains of their civilization besides the ruinous remains of their once glorious cities. Although the Sariyd people were able to survive the shattering of Farra during the Cataclysm, their empire ultimately fell to the Great Storm of 121 AC. Following the Red Hunt, a bloodthirsty massacre of the dragons that lived within Farah’deen, a catastrophic event struck the Sariyd Empire. A series of storms erupted from the seas, laying waste to the cities of the Sariyd, or enveloping them in immovable heaps of desert sand. Since then, the continent has been wracked with extremely powerful winds that shape the very landscape itself.
From the destruction of the Sariyd Empire emerged the two forefront peoples of the continent of Farah’deen: The Qadir and the Songaskia. The Qadir, flung out into every direction by the redoubled strength of the wind currents, began to establish new ways of life and adapt to the changes brought by both the Cataclysm and the Great Storm. Then, from the dusty wake of destruction emerged the Songaskia, a white-haired and mysterious people who immediately began to subjugate large swathes of Farah’deen by building large cities from the remaining ruins of the Sariyd Empire. These newcomers have since formed their own empire, the Masaya, and stand to contend in the political theater as rivals of the Regalian Empire. As the third century past the Cataclysm arrived, the Qadir and Songaskia have established new ways of life amongst themselves, and moved on from the legacies of their now-forgotten forebearers. The continent has fared well in the last few years, largely unaffected by the Songaskia-Regalia war of 302 AC, as the Regalian Empire never set foot upon the continent itself. More recently, the continent has managed to maintain control and order throughout the Bone Horror Crisis in 304 AC.
Farah'deen is one of the largest continuous land masses in the eastern Aloria. This gigantic territory is completely surrounded by sea, and neighbors its smaller sister-continent of Faradh. Due to its immense size, the continent has a vast variation of geography from the ever-present expanses of desert wasteland, to spiny ridges of weatherbeaten mountains and verdant green valleys between them. These diverse biomes also host their own individual climates, all affected by the powerful winds that ravage the land and the merciless sun that dries the earth.
The geographical regions of the continent are divided into distinct regions. The largest is the Eazim Desert, that dominates most of inland Farah’deen. This wind-ravaged wasteland is dotted with lonesome mountains and canyon networks where the Qadir make their homes, eking out a living from the land’s mineral wealth. Following the coastline of the continent are jagged cliffs and deep gorges known as the Faults of Farazanh that carve deeply into the land. Settlements built both by the Qadir and Songaskia fill every shred of habitable space by the sea, for trade is the lifeblood of many people within the land. Wherever civilization does not spring is usually inhospitable and foreboding, marred by a wall of jagged rocks and lofty stone formations by the sea.
In between the red-stoned mountains where land refused to give way to natural forces are pockets of temperate valleys that run like veins throughout the more mountainous regions of the continent. It is here within the valleys where the Songaskia rule, building their cities and temples within the embrace of verdant green lands. The significant fertility of this region supports the entirety of the continent’s agriculture, serving as some of the sole sources of food for Songaskia cities and trading Qadir who have no access to the sea.
Since the Great Storm of 121 AC, most of Farah’deen has been devastated by wind currents that tear life and moisture from the dunes. In the time they have ravaged the continent, these winds have formed both new geographical regions and new ways of life for the denizens who must contend with this natural force. The Qadir in particular have used the wind to their advantage, harnessing it for power or transportation within the dunes.
Beyond camels and well-covered caravans, the quickest way to traverse the Eazim Desert is through the use of a Bahadyr, a sail-powered vessel akin to a land boat. Using the large number of consistent wind patterns, Bahadyrs are capable of rapidly carrying a small crew and their cargo through the land with little help from beasts of burden or fuel. This allows food and trade to make its way between the few permanent Qadir settlements (Often Hadrityas, which serve as fortified libraries of great religious significance to the Qadir) that dot the land, and to the many ports that would otherwise be impossible to reach by foot. As a result, consistent and reliable wind currents have become roads and trade routes between settlements, and serve as one of the sole means of direction within the Eazim.
Plantlife in Farah’deen is split between two distinct categories. There is valley flora, which thrives in the placid and manicured lands between the mountains, and desert flora, which is resilient enough to withstand the wind currents and extreme temperatures. The former relies on the valley’s distinct fecundity to grow larger vegetation such as hazelnut trees, date plants, Dragonflower, and Nightshade. Most plants within the valleys are curated by the Songaskia, ensuring that most plants have some sort of material value beyond aesthetic beauty. Little life grows above-ground in the deserts of Farah’deen due to the inhospitable conditions within. Trees, shrubs, and even bramble are a rare sight, leaving little to grow in the sand beyond small tufts of tough desert grass that manages to cling into the sand throughout the seasons. However, plants still find a way to bloom amidst the hostile conditions; the Fireweed plant is one example, prized for its value in alchemy. Some grains and fruits grow here as well, but are sheltered from the wicked winds by tall mountains or ravines.
Wildlife in Farah’deen is limited outside of the mountains, as several Animals such as wolves, ibis, and mice are abundant in the wealds within the valleys, content to reap the boons of nature as the Songaskia of the valleys do themselves. Along the coasts are turtles and cranes that stray occasionally to the wind-beaten shores of the dunes in search of fish and smaller fowl. Few living things survive in the dunes, such as the Candle Mouse or Dune Worms. They are often of diminutive stature, feeding off weeds and brambles for food.
Politics and Demographics
Farah’deen is controlled by two distinct peoples, both of which do their best to limit their interactions between each other on any political scale. In fact, there exists only one nation within the continent, which is the Songaskian Masaya. On the other hand, the Qadir are mostly nomadic and only hold a few permanent settlements within the Eazim Desert. In spite of the two people’s lack of acknowledgement for one another, they deal extensively with foreign powers for trade. The Masaya maintains communication with the Yang-Tzu Isles and a select number of Qadir nations outside of Farah’deen, though shows little else but contempt for the Regalian Empire. The two empires have had historical differences, starting from malicious piracy to all-out war in recent years. On the other hand, the Qadir nomads often communicate with foreigners without discrimination, even receiving Regalian traders in their sparse ports to exchange valuable goods.
Across the face of the known world, it is said that no other city is more intimidating or sinister than Amkhar. The Songaskia’s current capital is one of the largest settlements in all of Aloria, falling short of Regalia city’s population by a mere million. It stands in the recess of the southernmost cliffs of the continent, in a large bay filled to the brim with buildings. The city is a sight not to enjoy, but to behold, for it is an intimidating sprawl of muddy red walls, looming spires, and elaborate domes hewn together by the hands of countless slaves. It is indisputably the largest center of commerce and slave-trading in the eastern continents, all contained within the foreboding courtyards and shadowed bazaars that are scattered around every district. Crime is either non-existent or well-hidden, for fear of religious and legal persecution binds many inhabitants to honest and subservient lives. This oppressive atmosphere is aided by the Amkhari Brigades; three divisions of the best professional infantry in the Masaya, who are trained and housed in the city as law-keepers and slave hunters. Even the sure promise of opportunity is not enough to remove the damper and gloom of its reputation; travelers always say that “a genuine smile in Amkhar is a miracle unto itself.”
Reverently called “the crown jewel of Shama-Abdala,” Korraz-Du is a significant temple city nestled deep within the most fertile region of the Songaskian valleys. It is the religious center of the Masaya, and stands in the middle of the largest valley within the nation. This picturesque city is said to look as natural and harmonious as the land it sprung from, and is topped with hundreds of towers and domes that shimmer by daylight. From every street, one can see Korraz-Du’s famous temple; a stunning fortress of faith built of cascading terraces and waterfall fountains. Above the highest point of the complex stands a special Songaskian sun disk that casts brilliant rays of sunlight to certain plazas in the city. It is in the largest plaza in Korraz-Du, the Daar’in Sahath, where the largest winter’s end festival Elniha Sihta’a is held among other hundreds of smaller celebrations.
Perhaps the largest Qadir Hadritya in all of Faraddi lands, Burjja Tharwah translates to ‘Spires of Fortune’ in their native tongue. This is in due to the fact that the entire city is built upon the spindly peak of a lonesome yet gigantic mountain emerging from featureless wind-beaten wastelands. From afar, the city appears to be a cone of glittering spires of white and brass erupting from the mountaintop. A miracle of engineering and an architectural wonder built from white-washed brick, Burjja Tharwah houses about 150,000 people; a concentration of Qadir unheard of anywhere else. Burjjans are known to sustain their lifestyles from the rich mines below the city, and house a gigantic caravanserai market near the base of the mountain. Clockwork masters take up residence within spacious halls laden with windmills and soaring windows, selling their services to anyone who gives them their prices paid by brass and other metals. Journeymen may easily find reliable Bahadyr captains ready to take them to this city.
Almost all Qadir or Songaskia that leave Farah’deen go through Hammaneh. It is the largest Qadiriq port in Farah’deen, and is the reliable host of many Regalian traders. Hammaneh holds a sinister reputation as “The Place of A Hundred Fortunes and Misfortunes,” for travellers say that business dealt in the port is as dangerous as it is lucrative. Hammaneh is a city of shantytowns built on the face of cliffs and upon the water, floating on the sea as much as it stands. All manners of Faraddi goods are traded here, though this place’s market is traditionally anti-slavery due to the high presence of Ailor and non-humans. Interestingly enough, Hammaneh is known as ‘The Doorway to the East’ to the Ailor, and ‘The Doorway to the West’ to the Qadir and most other denizens of the eastern continents.
The Gardabbi Threshold
The Eazim Desert is most hellish around the Gardrabbi Maelstrom, a storm of wind currents that circle the center of the continent. It’s threshold is the ravaged wasteland left behind by the maelstrom, and is a sight of great fear and reverence. It is said that the Esrah Allwatah is built within the center of the Gardabbi Threshold, though none can truly confirm what is even within the region. Songaskians use the place as an execution grounds, leaving those convicted of great religious crimes by the ring of nightmarish cliffs that surround the Maelstrom’s path of destruction. The only ones who know how to withstand the skin-flaying winds of this meteorological monstrosity are the devouts of the Esrah Allwatah, who are easily distinguished by their colorful clothing. These mysterious zealots are known to save the occasional victim of the Maelstrom, sending them to one of the few camps near the edge to recuperate before sending them away upon a Bahadyr to one of the Qadir ports.
- In spite of Farah’deen’s size and population, it is one of the most sparsely populated continents that holds civilization. Travelers can wander the desert for months without seeing a single living soul.
- Both Qadir and Songaskia tell tales of the Sadier, mysterious desert demons who grant three wishes to any who find them. It is said that whomever has all their three wishes fulfilled will suffer miserable fates worse than death.
- Common Faraddi colloquialisms include “Winds flay you alive” and “May the sun punish you”. Many also utter the phrase “Rot it”, “Rot you”, and so on.