In my first three posts in this series, I discussed the general aspects of my world-building, such as the language and the mythology. Then, I delved a little bit deeper into the geography and peoples of the northern half of Úr’Dan, providing some insight into the the people and landscapes seen in The Warden of Everfeld: Memento.
Now, I think it’s time we visit the southern half of Úr’Dan.
As said before, Úr’Dan is the southern peninsular subcontinent of a much larger landmass. While the southern portion of Úr’Dan narrows to a cape, the peoples in these regions are far more diverse in lifestyle and culture than their Uplander neighbors to the north.
Barger’s Marsh and the Tidewater Delta
The defining feature of southern Úr’Dan — perhaps all of Úr’Dan — is the Barger’s Marsh. The mighty rivers of the Uplands all flow into this vast lowland region of canals and lakes within lakes. These then spill eastward through the Tidewater Delta into Tidewater Bay.
Communities in this warmer climate bustle with activity nearly year-round, but the heart of the Marsh is Driftport. This city of rafts and barges ebbs and flows in the center of the Marsh throughout the year. But it swells to tens of thousands of visitors, traders, and merchants each autumn for the Harvest Festival.
Driftport is not only the trade hub of Úr’Dan, it is also the epicenter of cultural life on the subcontinent. It is here where traders developed a system of coinage and began keeping records of the major events that have shaped every harvest season. At the opening of WoEM, Driftport has stood (or floated) free for 998 years.
To the southwest of Driftport are a range of worn peaks called the Old Sentries. These smaller mountains shelter Nól’Dan (nohl-DAHN, literally, hill country), a grassy region of rolling hills and knolls along the southwestern coast of Úr’Dan.
The Kristal River flows out of these mountains towards the sea, splitting about halfway down into two separate forks. These are known for their beds of gemstones beneath the silt and sand riverbeds. The Stónburn pours out of the southeastern spur of the Old Sentries to the coast as well, effectively separating Nól’Dan from what lies beyond the river…
The haunted forest of Glómfeld darkens the northeastern bank of Stónburn A strange and reclusive people live deep within this mighty forest, frequently raiding the surrounding lands. But legends tell of darker and crueler beings that dwell here, poisoning the very air of the forest with their presence.
In my short story, “Wolf’s Moon Night”, a shepherd boy from Nól’Dan comes face to face with the folktales he has heard his entire life about what haunts Glómfeld.
The Brown Marches and the Górj
To the southeast of the Barger’s Marsh are another range of stout, dry mountains: The Brown Marches. The northern slopes and foothills of the Brown Marches rise so steeply from the Marsh and Delta region that they have come to be known as Mór’Dan (literally, bare land), a narrow strip of highland plains on which few crops can grow.
Within the western spur of the Brown Marches is Stónbraeker Górj. This canyon in the mountains is rich in minerals, particularly gold, and has become a hub of little mining towns.
Notably, a narrow spur of land separates these mining towns from Glómfeld to the southwest. The Wolf’s Run is notorious for vicious raids on trading caravans. It also happens to be the only overland pass from the far south of Úr’Dan to the Marsh and Driftport.
As the far southern end of Úr’Dan, Brytlíf Kaep (BRITE-leef KAPE) is separated from the rest of the continent by the Brown Marches. The winds and rains of this southern cape provide it with a humid and moist climate, and most of the cape is covered in lush jungle.
The southern “point” of the cape actually forms a crescent-shaped bay, which welcomes traders and sailors from beyond Úr’Dan to its numerous port towns. Mahar’s Ring, a group of islands much farther south, has provided many migrants and settlers along Úr’Dan’s southern coastlines, as well as trading partners.
North versus South?
While the climates and peoples of southern Úr’Dan are far more diverse than in the Uplands, the people here face the same difficulties: migrations, regional conflict, and different groups vying for dominance over the rich resources there.
Still, those Úr’Daní who are fortunate enough to have traveled beyond their homelands recognize the shared history of the various societies whose economic and cultural lives swirl around one point: Driftport.