Belem is the second largest continent, separated from the coast of South Guayal by the Berus Strait, so named for Berus, the minor deity said to dwell in an undersea rift below. Belem is a continent in two parts: the Leranin Grasslands in the north, the Shadewood in the west, and the humid Koranin Valley in the east. The Leranin Grasslands are home to numerous petty human kingdoms, tangled in an ever-shifting web of marriage pacts and blood feuds. These kingdoms occupy the flat grasslands south of the Koresh River, and are noted for their skilled horsemanship. Only the most desperate attempt to settle in the northern Leranin hills, for they are home to monstrous creatures, many of whom have become the inspiration for children’s tales over the years. At the northernmost tip of the Leranin stands the solitary Godshome Peak, at the peak of which wise giants are said to dwell. The winding valleys and treacherous passes of the Shield Mountains enclose the Koranin Valley, at the heart of which lies Koran’s Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the world. Secluded and highly fertile, the Koranin has played host to many different dwarven kingdoms over the centuries, and as a result is also home to an abundance of ancient ruins and abandoned cities. Hugging the eastern shore of Koran’s Lake is the Crickwood, a large coniferous forest created three hundred years ago in honour of a pact made by a dwarven prince with seafaring firbolgs in exchange for their support of his claim for the throne. The Crickwood firbolg lords have remained loyal subjects of the dwarven kings since then, and the kingdom enjoys relatively harmonious relations. Not much is known about the Shadewood, an ancient forest covering the entire western coast of Belem. Few have reason to travel to it, isolated as it is, and even fewer have returned in one piece to tell of what lies in its depths. At times, huge fog banks roll out of the high plateau upon which the Shadewood rests, creeping for miles out into the open sea. At the first sign of the fog, known by the fishermen who frequent those coastal waters as the Bittershroud, all sound and light seems to ebb away. As such, despite the waters below the high cliffs being rich in pearls and other exotic bounties, they remain pristine.
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