Herd Location – The Desert Isle
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The Great River
Running down from the north east, the Great River snakes its way down the eastern side of the isle, widening into a lake about halfway through it’s journey before slowly petering out into the sands of the south west.
Massive in size, it stretches over 25 ft across and ranges in depth. Once it passes Lake Taremu, however, it begins to shrink in size every few miles until it disappears into a tangle of rocky cliffs and stone. It’s believed the river continues underground but it’s unknown where it comes out.
A large lake that marks the halfway point in the Great River. Massive in size, the lake reaches unknown depths as no one has ever been brave enough to dive down to the bottom.
The lake provides dependable water year round no matter the season to the fawns who live near it and supports the surrounding herd that live along its edges.
At the center of the lake sits a statue of Zemides, especially made of Quartz stone to ensure that the lake is not contaminated.
The Citadel surrounds Lake Chandra and is surrounded by a large wall and 6 outlook towers. The dependable water allows for thick vegetation to grow and survive through the year. Large palms and hardy trees are plentiful here allowing for grasses to even grow!
It’s from the eastern plateau’s overlooking the river that the Primary rules with the expansive capital city lying beneath. The vast majority of the population lives here, crafting, building and living their lives amidst the flood of color and the city’s vivacity. Surrounded in fertile ground and modest forest, the phae here have learnt to work with what the land provides and mastered it.
The Primary and the most important members of the herd live on and surrounding the eastern plateau’s of the capital, with the temple neighbouring them. The palace sits on the highest plateau with a weaving path straight down to the Imperial Square, where most official celebrations and festivities are held. Many villas and mansions of the Primary’s family and highest ranking members of the herd mark the eastern territory of the Citadel.
On the westernmost side of Lake Chandra, many Desertfolk have made their home. With a lively market square and many inns and taverns, the western banks of Lake Tavebu is where the vivacity of the Citadel truly shines.
The Academy of the Citadel, housing most of the capital’s tutors and students. Magical lessons and study are at it’s center but all disciplines are taught. The Imperium sits a stonethrow away from the temple at the south of the Citadel and is second in size only to the Palace.
The archival records of the herd kept in the basement of the Imperium, with different sections being restricted to only the primary, stewards, and the keepers. Different study materials and books (from Fiction to Factual) are kept here and maintained by the keepers of knowledge (Overseen by the Steward of Erudition).
Primary living quarters and training grounds of the Military within the citadel. A large facility at the North-East corner of the citadel where Centurions come to hone their skills, eat, celebrate, and coordinate their tasks under the Steward of Militia. Those who chose to, are also given living quarters within the garrison. Though relatively humble and sometimes having to share rooms, many consider is a perfectly comfortable place to stay.
The Ashbourne Expanse
The vast ocean of red sand that consumes most of the islands western landscape. The farther west you go, the more and more sandy it gets. Mountainous in some areas, entering these dunes is a death sentence unless you know where you’re going. Banished phae and those unwelcome by the herd have hideouts here! It’s a dangerous place to wander!
Believed to be a place where the gods can come to the mortal plane, this small atoll is a sacred place. Tributes, prayers and statues scatter the atoll in honor of the gods. Many come here to pray when times grow truly desperate but lingering here for more than a few hours is seen as blasphemy.
Bringing back ‘relics’ like stones, clay and dirt from the island can only be done by anointed religious leaders. Stolen artifacts from this atoll are considered cursed and can bring generations of bad happenings to a family.
The northern most town of Dawnspire that surrounds the Gateway, only the most devout and guardfolk inhabit this town as an extra layer of protection for their sacred site.
The home of Dawnspire’s Black Market, this Cove is a sprawling network of paths and small squares obscured by the towering rock formations surrounding it and stretching far into the sky. The precarious entrances and overhanging plateau tops allow for it to have gone undetected for centuries. Only those who know the safe paths into the Cove, obtained through the Black Market’s residents, will ever be able to venture into the depths and discover the secret of its existence. Predators often roam the areas outside the Cove, making it a treacherous site many don’t dare to visit in the first place.
Residents of the Cove have made their homes in the underground caves deep under the market, giving them a safe harbor to flee to should they ever be discovered as they are the only ones who are aware of the existence of the caves underneath.
The port city surrounding Dawnspire’s Harbor, often a first landing point for trade and visitors of the Desert. The city is often bustling with activity and hard working-folk coordinating their wares and trade to be distributed to the different towns and the Citadel for sale. Many travellers use the Harbor as a halfway point on their journey to regather their energy and replenish their supplies for the oncoming dangerous journey to other parts of the Desert.
Many of the grand buildings in Dawnspire are built from sandstone, and that has to come from somewhere. The saltspine mine/prison serves both as a resource, and as a means of punishment within the herd.
This herd has borders with Mirroweld and Vinelocke.
Routes to Other Herds
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The Desert Isle is geographically close to both Mirroweld and Vinelocke, and there are many small islands that can be traversed to cross to another island. These paths are best taken in steps, as they can become dangerous when the tide is high. At low tide, the sandbars can easily be walked between islands.
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The vast expanse of the Desert Isle is riddled with danger and challenges. Though predators tend to avoid common paths often patrolled by centurions, it is impossible to safeguard some areas of the Desert due to the lack of proximity to water or availability of shelter in an emergency (like a sandstorm).
The Ashborne Expanse often tests wanderers resourcefulness, not only for its lack of identifiable landmarks making it easier to get lost but also because of the fact that predators take advantage of anyone’s unfamiliarity with the terrain. Mirages are a common occurrence here, tricking a Phae into traversing in potentially hopeless directions in their search for water or safety. Due to frequent flash floodings of the rivers, quicksand sinks are often even more dangerous to Phae than predators if they do not have a full grasp on the signs to look out for and are travelling alone.
Flora & Fauna
Though the desert may seem vacant and desiccated due to the majority of the population being confined to certain areas, this is anything but true. Behind towering plateaus, underneath bare sand banks, or perfectly camouflaged in the muted expanse the Desert is teeming with life. Most akin to the Sahara Desert and the Red Rock Canyons of the United States, many flora and fauna can be found.
Fruits, vegetables, and spices can be found if you know where to look for them. Figs, pomegranate, plums, melon, jackfruit, grapes, coffeeberries, plantains, apples, and pricklypears are some of the fruits a Phae might feel blessed to encounter whilst travelling the island. Dill, parsley, buckwheat, pepperweed, spearmint, onion, chia, olives, mustard, lettuce, and tobacco plants are just some of the common trade items Dawnspire makes use of for food and trade.
Common predatory species a phae might want to be weary of include; red foxes, hawks, african wolves, african wildcats, genets, cheetahs, jungle cats, african wild dogs, coyotes, bobcats, and various snakes. Other fauna include rabbits, squirrels, gophers, ringtails, hedgehogs, bats, boars, small goats, mongoose, baboons, and mice.
Birds Accepted for Falconry
Swainson’s hawk. Red-shouldered hawk, Red-tailed hawk, Ferruginous hawk, Sharp-shinned hawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Goshawk, Harris hawk, Golden eagle, American kestrel, European kestrel, Merlin, Aplomado falcon, Prairie Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Saker falcon, Gyrfalcon, Lanner falcon, Eurasian owl, Great horned owl, Pygmy owl, Snowy owl, Osprey, and Harriers.
Note: it is possible not all birds listed above are indigenous to the Desert Island and must be acquired through other means.