Land Regions of Ralubia
Anphirai, literally the lands of Phirai, encompasses all the lands around the former Phirine Sea (which the natives simply call Phirai, 'the Sea'). Anphirai's location between numerous mountain chains and the Relorian desert have contributed to a sense of identity, but have never stopped the continuous flux of migrating peoples. Today, the mountain passes leading to the country are heavily guarded, and forts exist all along the edge of the desert. The interior of Anphirai is rocky and dry, with patches of fertile valleys that has led to pockets of habitation separated by stretches of wastes. Three of these have grown to become the city-states of Vathir, Tharam and Delanthel; numerous small towns and outposts dot the countryside as well. In the desolate areas between the cities, roving tribesmen eke out a living. Though they are considered bandits by the local rulers, they are actually Relorian nomads.
- See the Map of Anphirai (38k image).
Still claimed by Ralubia, the Prulam was in ancient times a center of its own civilization. The country is dominated by the valley of the Varhalet (Kr. Yakhalet), but is otherwise hot and dry subtropical steppe. Two cities dominate: Aribind and Caracand, but numerous other towns dot the region. Like Ralubia, nomadic tribesmen wander the wilderness between pockets of civilization, but they are related to the Jalini.
Landforms and Terrain
Velarem Wood: The light woods covering the Almrain Hills above the city of Vathir. The Velarem is dying, no longer receiving the moisture once carried by winds from the Phirine Sea. There are more dead trees, dried out logs, and empty hollows than live trees. The most common type of surviving tree is the hardy smarel-tree, a thorn-bearing tree. The woods are also home to a variety of birds and small critters. Farmers from the city outskirts bring herds of org up here to forage.
In the days of the Cazzirian conquest, insurgent Phireans hid here with the aid of the Edrini. Once heavily populated by the Edrini, those sentients have been all but exterminated. The only reminder of those days is a small monolith dedicated to a forgotten Phirean hero.
Almrain Hills: A wrinkle of hills spilling down from the Cromirlon Mountains and toward Vathir. The windward side of the Almrains is covered by the Velarem Wood. Near the city of Vathir, there is a scattering of small backward hamlets tending their orchards and grazelands. The hills catch some rain in ponds and small lakes suitable for light fishing. The westernmost end of the hills is dangerous due to wandering Beast-Men from the Cromirlons.
The Almrains are famous for being the home of the Pelithozzel War Temple, where the most elite of Vathir's warriors are trained.
Donnithi Ridges: A jagged fold of mountains forming the northern edge of the Prulam basin. The Donnithi rise high enough to get significantly colder than the dry steppes below them. Coniferous forest carpets them. Aside from the haunted mountain passes, the Donnithi are home to nasty creatures such as the wyvern and the basilisk. The Melandrian Road, built by the Maletrians, is today the only safe route over the mountains.
There is a legend in the Dhasharmahn concerning events taking place here.
Cromirlon Mountains: This broad range of mountains rose up during the climactic finale of the Gur-Docherlan when Eimragh split the continent in two. The elder Cromir Haroz the Great maintains his kingdom deep within the range. These mountains are riddled with mines and caverns and heavily populated by grueslin and younger Cromirs.
The tallest peak is Mount Domber, which can be reached by travelling up a steep valley south from the midpoint of the Great Trade Route Pass. It is said that Domber is the home of an Elder Cromir.
Malesh Hills: These ragged hills connect the Cromirlons and the Basturan with the Chardrakesh Plateau. The hillmen of the Malesh Hills belong to a militant cult of ancient origin and hold numerous independent strongholds. Their harsh religion makes the Maleshii renowned fighters and nobles many neighboring states, especially Aribind and Kruthedan, find them desirable as mercenaries and bodyguards.
Meshan-Talaii: Rising on the eastern edge of the Aldhazinhari desert, these mountains separate the broad wasteland from the valley of Hoshuk. They are reputed to be a nesting ground for rukha.
Mad Wizard's Pool: This is the hole blown through the bottom of the Phirine Sea by the wizard Gillan. Water from the Cromirlons flows into the Phirai, stagnates, then gradually makes its way to this pool, where it gets sucked down into a subterranean sea. Horror stories of careless fishermen being swallowed by the Pool abound. Supposedly, a whole civilization of subterranean dwellers thrives in the caverns below.
Almrain River: The waterway the runs down from the Cromirlon Mountains, through Velarem Wood, past the plain of Vathir and the Almrain Hills, into the Phirean Swamp, and finally terminates in a glittering waterfall down Mad Wizard's Pool to the sunless sea below.
Varhalet: Also called the Yakhalet in the Krishari language, the Varhalet is the chief river of the Prulam. It enters Albir Gulf at the port of Caracand.
Aldhazinhari: The "Desert of Burning Blood" called because of its red sands, which are said to be the million droplets of blood spilt by the god Marik in his countless battles. While most of the sand is normal, certain qualities of sand are precious: the jewelled harizine and metallic hurn. Hurnic sand is used to fashion the blood-red scimitars (chards) sacred to Marik's warriors. Hurnic alloy has a glassy quality and is both ber and sharper than steel.
Kelkadh (Godsfall Hills): Early in the history of the Chardrakesh nomads there was a great battle between Marik and Shinaket. In the battle the Demon of the Lake threw Marik to the earth. The body hurtled from the sky and struck the Kelkadh with such force that his blood sprayed across the entire desert, thus turning the sands red. Surik, Marik's shieldmate, survived the battle; he came to the earth and took the body of Marik in his arms. Weeping, he cried out to the people of the hills, who were the Ghantalii of Lorigel. Surik renamed them Kelberini, "Godbearers" and had them carry the god across the desert to a place of sanctuary (Cha Kelkorm).
Thereafter the Kelkadh have been considered holy by the nomads and none approach save the mysterious inhabitants of Lorigel (slavers all, and presumed to be wicked sorcerers). The people of Lorigel have a sheltered village, Derlash, in the Kelkadh where slaves are used to mine pure hurn ore.
The tale of Surik's teaching of the Kelberini is recounted in the Dhasharmahn.
Phirai Swamp: Formerly the Phirine Sea, which was drained of its waters by the Mad Wizard of Mirsach. The Mad Wizard was eventually driven off by the god Lord Rhivon and the wizard/creator Master Pievem (formerly the Mad Wizard's friend), and since then the swamp has been the god's domain, excluding the Marshway, which is the region of villages along the Muddy Road between Vathir and Tharam.
It is said that Mad Wizard's Pool, which swirls in the center of the swamp, leads to the underworld. There are also rumors of strange under-dwelling folk who occasionally emerge from the depths.
Relorian Desert: A hot wasteland lying east of Phirai Swamp, the Relorian desert is inhabited by freedom-loving nomads who regularly raid the settlements and caravans of the Ralubians.
Serilam Plains: The pastures of Anphirai west of Phirai Swamp are inhabited mainly by Phirean herdsmen. The name comes from the Saers, who settled the area after fleeing the flood.