Author Topic: West of the Mattahars  (Read 1060 times)


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West of the Mattahars
« on: February 13, 2024, 11:51:15 PM »
The lands west of the curve of the Mattahar mountains are largely more arid than those to its east: most of the watersheds run down to the Dragonfly sea, not westward to the ocean, leaving large desertified and arid areas in the regions south of the Starlit Sea, Tabnire, and Kesrata.


There are two main sections of the desert, with the Ocean's Tusk or Gulf of Skies, a large and shallow salllamaer gulf, sitting between them. North of the gulf lies the desert known as the Hernaal, south is the Lisk. Both areas lack much sedentary population except at certain oases, with nomads moving along the shores or across the arid sands. A little water flows into the Tusk at the mountain end, leading to the small and modestly fertile valleys of Keretha, ruled by a Hanau prince, little more than a city-state and somewhat far from most major trading routes (Any trade from Verasine will prefer the route through Dulshan where supplies are easier, or will skip the Tusk entirely and travel with a Chelonian flotilla up towards Tabnire, Kesrata, and the Starlit Sea.)

In the Mattahar foothils there are more semi-sedentary tribes with small villages and clan leaders but little formal authority above that. Keretha is a little southwest of the Valleys of the Sunrise, and its natural routes through the mountains would pass through that area (which further reduces its exposure to the outside world, for the Hanau of the Valleys are deeply secretive). Hasdramut meanwhile is more directly due north, but a bit deeper into the mountains: the waters of the lakes around Hasdramut largely flow north into the Starlit Sea.


The Mattahar foothill peoples are a mix of humans, dwarfs, and goblins, farming succulents that can survive the arid conditions or trapping hyraxes, golden-moles and large jerboas for small amounts of meat. Some occasionally cross the mountains to seek a better life in Dulshan or the Heirophancy, but the perils of the journey, barriers of language, and the distaste of neighbours for such desertion mean few attempt the journey. The largest settlements in this region might have one or two hundred souls, perhaps three hundred in some of the villages of smaller goblins, and there are few of those.

Out in the desert, dwarfs become more commonplace, perhaps better adapted for hard climates. Nomadic groups travel with the seasons along the shores of the sea or trekking inland to oases. The desert peoples have a strongly place-centred system of belief, memory, and oral record.

Meanwhile, the Kerethans are more Hanau (about a third to a half) and likewise have more gnomes than usual, with humans and dwarfs also mixed into the population. Kerethans speak a localised language which mixes the vocabulary of certain Mattahar foothill and desert languages with structures more related to Heirophantic or trading-talk. The region grows kamut wheat, millet, and mebev, a tough little fruit rather like a hard and bitter apricot, sometimes cooked and sometimes mixed into a salted drink with the acidic sap of certain succulent plants. Some places in the foothills also cultivate mebev trees.
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