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The southern borders of Whisperwood rise vertiginously into a great plateau, which borders the Mountains of the Moon - the isolated nation of [[Tsark]]. The woodlands are dominated by the Thornwasp clan of the Druj, who also control [[#Bloodwater Marsh|Bloodwater Marsh]]. In the western part of the region is a weirwood grove with the rather unsettling name of [[#The Fingers of the Devourer|The Fingers of the Devourer]] which seems to be the source of a lot of the Thornwasp clan wealth.  
 
The southern borders of Whisperwood rise vertiginously into a great plateau, which borders the Mountains of the Moon - the isolated nation of [[Tsark]]. The woodlands are dominated by the Thornwasp clan of the Druj, who also control [[#Bloodwater Marsh|Bloodwater Marsh]]. In the western part of the region is a weirwood grove with the rather unsettling name of [[#The Fingers of the Devourer|The Fingers of the Devourer]] which seems to be the source of a lot of the Thornwasp clan wealth.  
  
The eastern parts of the regio are given over to farms - but no less forested for it. The orcs practice an advanced form of agriculture that allows them to grow a variety of produce even in the shadow of the trees.
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The eastern parts of the region are given over to farms - but no less forested for it. The orcs practice an advanced form of agriculture that allows them to grow a variety of produce even in the shadow of the trees.
  
 
There is a large settlement here, roughly in the middle of the region, which is named '''Uklead'''. The Thornwasp palace squats in the centre of the settlement, and is notable because unlike most Druj towns and villages it has several tall towers rather than being largely one-and-two storey ramshackle buildings.
 
There is a large settlement here, roughly in the middle of the region, which is named '''Uklead'''. The Thornwasp palace squats in the centre of the settlement, and is notable because unlike most Druj towns and villages it has several tall towers rather than being largely one-and-two storey ramshackle buildings.

Revision as of 07:38, 20 May 2022

Regions of Sarangrave.png
Sarangrave is mapped, but parts of the territory remain unknown.

Overview

Sarangrave is the south-western territory of the Mallum. It borders Therunin, Zenith, Axos, and the Barrens, as well as the Salt Flats of Sanath. It absolutely teems with life - where Ossium was grim and dour, strangled with dark forests, Sarangrave is wide open and fecund. It is bounded to the south by the Mountains of the Moon and the peaks of Axos.

There is a great deal of agriculture here - both crops and herd animals in great profusion. The Great Forest orcs speak of the Sarangrave in dark tones. They say that there is something corrupt in the marsh, a malignant presence that the Druj commune with. Some speculate that it is perhaps related to the terrible spirit that occupies the great ruins that lie along the northern river - the river that feeds into the Feverwater in Therunin.

There are three clans of Druj in Sarangrave; the south is dominated by the Thornwasp clan, the northern regions are controlled by the Banded Snake, and the eastern regions are under control of the Marshlizard. These three powerful clans rule over a number of smaller clans, septs of subject orcs, and a few handfuls of humans. There are no armies currently in Sarangrave.

Economics

It is likely that, were the territory conquered by the Empire, it would experience similar problems to those encountered in Ossium with regard to establishing commissions and the like. Sarangrave appears on the surface to be a very fertile territory - perhaps even on par with parts of the Marches - and it is likely that farms would be readily established and prosper here.

Recent History

The Druj are secure in their domination of the Sarangrave. Until very recently, the territory was completely unknown to the Empire. The Great Forest Orcs were the first to name the place, when they provided what information they possessed to their Imperial allies. In Summer 383YE, however, a spy network was commissioned here by the Imperial Senate. Thanks to a joint effort between the Penumbral Watcher, Imperial military captains and Axou scouts the territory was carefully infiltrated, explored, and mapped in the run-up to the Winter Solstice of that year. The information here was made public after the summit. The Axou contingent was composed of Toxatai skirmishers, many of them magicians. These scouts cooperated fully with their Imperial counterparts, sharing information and coordinating their movements through the fens and forests. Two of them were accompanied by ghostly advisors - remnant spirits summoned by necromantia as part of an enchantment that helped guide the Axou in their investigation of the territory. The Axou have the same information as is provided here.

Points of Interest

Miasma Pillars

The entire territory is in the grip of the Druj miasma - the oppressive aura of despair and fear that the orcs of the Mallum cultivate wherever they establish their dominion. It causes nightmares and impedes efforts to conquer the territory. As with other Druj territories the Empire has encountered, the crushing atmosphere is supported by miasma pillars in each of the seven regions.

Trods

There are currently no trods in Sarangrave, although the presence of a vallorn heart here no doubt means the Navarr will be keen to establish some.

Béantal Dol

The ”corrupting spirit” that the Great Forest speak of is almost certainly the vallorn that lurks at the heart of the Sarangrave. There is little doubt that this is the location of the ruins of the Terunael city Béantal Dol. Obviously the Imperial scouts find it difficult to do more than identify the outskirts of the area, so the presence of the ruins is pretty much still speculation. There is even more speculation about why the vallorn is not significantly larger. There are no Navarr among the spies studying Sarangrave, but some of the Axou have experience of the immense vallorn that occupies the heart of their own nation. They say there's no sign that the vallorn has ever been any bigger than it currently is. The best guess of their magician-scouts it has something to do with the peculiar stones that serve as a boundary around the central region.

The Druj for their part tend to just avoid the place. There are few settlements other than Grynbor in the Nesustak forest that are especially close to the borders, and no signs of any steadings or permanent stridings within.

Tower of the Skink

There is a very large fortification of white granite and twisted weirwood in Thornfen. It isn't built in the pass that connects Sarangrave and Axos but it still defends the territory from invasion. The Druj "city" of Sephals sprawls in the shadow of this large castle.

Palace of the Sleepers

In northern Kroll is the Palace of the Sleepers. A peculiar almost conical hill, riddled with passages and shrouded in twisted trees and an enduring cloak of dirty mist. It stands on the edge of a great dark watered lake and the local populace give it a wide berth. There's also a weird statue of a giant multi-armed horror next to the slumped conical mound, right on the edge of the lake.

It is tricky to get close to the structure - there are some particularly horrible creatures living in the marshes that have not been encountered elsewhere. A breed of large carnivorous multi-armed horror similar to a miniature kraken (they seem to grow no more than six feet long), and an amphibious lizard similar to a crocodile or alligator that seems to possess a supernatural ability to sneak up on its prey. Those spies with magical awareness suspect that there is an aura here reminiscent of the ritual Dripping Echoes of the Fen but on a much smaller scale.

The orcs are not alone here – there are a noticeable number of human slaves here and the spies believe they are primarily of recent Urizen and Axou origin.

Difficult as it is to believe for some of the spies, the Palace of the Sleepers appears to be a College of Magic, dedicated to the study of either the Night or Spring realms. It's impossible to get much of a feel for it, but the Axou agree. The ghulai here are studying and developing magic, whatever else they are up to.

The Fingers of the Devourer

In western Whisperwood is a rich weirwood forest. The trees themselves are a little peculiar – they have a sinuous quality not seen in other forests, with drooping curved branches. There's no doubt they are actually weirwood, but they seem particularly adapted to living in the damp soil from which they sprout.

Estimates suggest the forest provides 20 wains of weirwood each season. It's not impossible that if they were in Imperial hands it might provide more wood.

Path of the Eye

The mountains of the southern Sarangrave prevent easy passage between Axos and the Mallum. The only route for armies to move between the two nations is the Path of the Eye, a broad pass that connects Thornfen and the Axou territory of Kabanja.

Regions

Nesustak Forest

  • Quality: Forest

The Nesustak Forest is dank and unpleasant. It is dominated by the Banded Snake clan, ruled from nearby Turan, but there are few Druj settlements here. Most of the populace are made up of orc septs, with one obvious exception. At the point where the river leaves the vallorn-infested region of Bendol there is a small town given over to a predominantly human sept who call themselves the Grynbor (which also seems to be the name of their settlement).

The exact status of these Grynbor is difficult to determine - they are surely subjects of the Druj but like the Ketsov in Ossium they seem to have a certain amount of freedom. They "farm" the forests for wood, but they also seem to "farm" the vallorn to the south. Small expeditions press into the infested region, braving the miasma, apparently in search of treasures and peculiar plants for their Druj overlords. They also operate flat-bottomed boats that carry lumber down the river.

One particularly grim practice observed by the spies is that it seems that whenever a Grynbor becomes sick, or too old to work, they are offered up to the vallorn of Bendol. Some scouts are able to observe such a ceremony; there is a sense of pageantry about it as the "sacrifice" voluntarily walks into the vallorn with neither weapons nor armour.

As with all the regions that border Bendol, Nesustak forest shows signs of having been warped by vallorn power in the past although there seems to be little evidence of vallornspawn at the current time.

Thornfen

  • Quality: Forest, Marsh, Fortification

The Thornfen is controlled by the Marshlizard Clan of the Druj, and the heart of their territory is the sprawling town of Sephals which is by far the most significant settlement in the Sarangrave - a sprawling stinking almost-city with a population on par with Meade. It squats in the shadow of the Tower of the Skink, an impressive fortified complex of white granite and twisted weirwood.

The majority of the structures in Sephals are of a wattle and daub construction; hovels for the countless slaves who serve under the whips of their masters. These are in stark contrast to a few buildings near the gates of the Tower of the Skink, built of limestone and ornamented with marble. These manors are equal in size and splendour to some of the finest in the League, the largest of which serves as both residence and workshop for the buruk tepel Grahkunuz and their apprentices.

There is a pass here through the mountains into north-western Axos – the Path of the Eye - which is how the Druj invade that foreign nation.

Turan Flats

  • Quality: Marsh

A sprawling, stinking marshland bisected by a slow-moving river that feeds into the Feverwater. The Flats are heavily farmed, primarily wild rice, tubers that flourish in partially drained beds, caged fish and water fowl, and herds of fat pig-like animals that grow a thick coarse wool. Slave villages are scattered across the marshes, under the cruel fist of the Banded Snake clan.

The ruler of Turan is a het of the Banded Snakes called Trakaa who is viewed with almost superstitious dread by the populace, and is known to take particular pleasure in acquiring captured Imperial soldiers and breaking them body and soul.

Healthy trade routes flow between the Turan Flats, the Salt Flats of Sanath, and the Barrens.

Kroll

  • Quality: Marsh

Apart from Bendol this is the wildest region in Sarangrave. It is dominated by the Marshlizard clan, but part of it is held by an entirely different group of orcs - a cabal of Ghulai called the Sept of Masks. They are based around a peculiar almost conical hill, called the Palace of the Sleepers, riddled with passages and shrouded in twisted trees and an enduring cloak of dirty mist.

The rest of the region is given over to some light farming and a scattering of settlements belonging to slaves of the Marshlizards. Some of these settlements are involved in panning or sieving the marsh waters, especially those along the streams and rivers that cascade down out of the mountains between Kroll and Axos. It's likely they are looking for precious metals, which might conceivably include a little ilium.

Bendol

  • Quality: Marsh, Forest, Vallorn

This region is shunned by the Druj, because it is occupied by a seething vallorn heart. There are believed to be Terunael ruins here, but the scouts are unable to penetrate particularly into the region for obvious reasons. Of particular interest is a series of misshapen stones that circle the region - several of them mired in the lake - which bear carved designs somewhat reminiscent of curling Navarr patterns.

There is no sign of any trods in the region- and the vallorn does not appear quiescent so much as contained. It is notable that parts of the marsh and forest in all the regions that border Bendol show signs of having been touched by the vallorn. There is no miasma but the plants and some of the animals show signs of having been twisted by vallorn magic.

Whisperwood

  • Quality: Forest

The southern borders of Whisperwood rise vertiginously into a great plateau, which borders the Mountains of the Moon - the isolated nation of Tsark. The woodlands are dominated by the Thornwasp clan of the Druj, who also control Bloodwater Marsh. In the western part of the region is a weirwood grove with the rather unsettling name of The Fingers of the Devourer which seems to be the source of a lot of the Thornwasp clan wealth.

The eastern parts of the region are given over to farms - but no less forested for it. The orcs practice an advanced form of agriculture that allows them to grow a variety of produce even in the shadow of the trees.

There is a large settlement here, roughly in the middle of the region, which is named Uklead. The Thornwasp palace squats in the centre of the settlement, and is notable because unlike most Druj towns and villages it has several tall towers rather than being largely one-and-two storey ramshackle buildings.

Bloodwater Marsh

  • Quality: Marsh

Grim fens and dour marshes and dozens of streams and rivers feet into the Feverwater. There are a couple of Druj settlements here on the shores of the lake, mostly dedicated to fishing and raiding Therunin. This is where the Druj forces invaded Zenith from. The largest settlement here is probably Lahkev, along the eastern shores of the Feverwater, close to the twisted vallorn of Bendol. A sept of orcs who seem to take pride in emulating the Druj are found here - they curry favour with their masters in the Thornwasp clan by scouting and raiding in Therunin and Zenith. Lahkev has rotten docks - barely maintained enough to support the fisherfolk. There are signs that some of the buildings here are very old indeed - or at least parts of them are.

OOC Notes

Further Reading