Ratr Isva Wasteland

"The Ratr Isva makes me uncomfortable, it's quiet and empty in a way that doesn't sit right with me." - Bensinya Hadsrian, Roctane Explorer

Written by: jester2b
Cover Art by: Rafael Sewa

Geography

  At the center of Stelwen sits the Ratr Isva, a wasteland of stone crags and dusty flatlands. Metal structures of odd and wild shapes dot the landscape, taking the place of any plant life. Most of the wildlife hides underground during the day, for the sun would bake them alive, emerging only at night. The loose dusty soil often gets picked up by the high winds, causing massive dust storms and dust devils. The Ratr Isva is bordered by rocky mountains on all sides, separating it from the rest of Stelwen. Naturally formed and treacherous mountain passes serve as the main way for travelers and merchants to enter this unwelcoming landscape. At the center lies one of Nostrina's greatest mysteries, The Reaching Hand, or as most locals refer to it as, the Divine Remnant.  

Landmarks

"Let the hand be your guide." - Ractane proverb
  No matter where you are in the Ratr Isva, one can always see the Reaching Hand. These five massive metal spike-shaped towers burst out of the ground towards the sky, forming a hand-like shape that can be seen from miles away. It is theorized that the creation of the Reaching Hand dates back to the Primeval Era, possibly existing at the dawn of Nostrina many millennia ago; its purpose, if it ever had one, has long since been lost to the sands. The belief of the Orkina Temple is that it's the remnant of the god Udamar and the goddess Tubera, who sacrificed themselves to give create Nostrina. A shrine was built at the center of the structure in honor of Udamar and Tubera, a place for pilgrims to come and give thanks for their sacrifice.   Survivalists and those traveling the wasteland give this structure a different name, the Markers. They use the metal towers have been used as a guide for those lost in the wastes, showing them the way towards the safety of Bal-Assandi, a town built at the structure's base. Those who choose to live under the Reaching Hand are hardy people who live off what little they can gather from the land and trade with traveling merchants. Some locals have taken to being Sherpas for traveling merchants, guiding them through the perilous wasteland for a fee.  

Wildlife

With such little food available, large creatures like Bunyips  and Stelwen's many giant spiders avoid this region. The wasteland is mostly populated by small arthropods, reptiles, and scavenging birds. With water being only being found in various watering holes formed after the rains and underground cave streams. The vast majority of the Ratr Isva's native wildlife is nocturnal, hiding underground during the day to avoid the brutal heat. Since there is no plant life in the wastes, all animals are believed to be carnivores or scavengers, some being both.   One notable creature is the Errite, a species of beetle around the size of one's hand, that burrows into the ground during the day and emerges at night to search for food. These creatures are caught by Roctane hunters for their hard shells can be grounded up to make hallucinogenic drugs. The largest native animal is the Dust Striker, a species of snake that hides in the dust, waiting for prey to get close before striking. These snakes are known to be aggressive, often biting travelers that get too close, though they choose not to use their deadly venom in these attacks. It should be noted that creatures from outside the Ratr Isva occasionally wander into the wastelands. A common example is when a female Stinger Drake flies in to build a nest for her eggs.  

Inhabitants

The Roctane that live in the Ratr Isva are a hardy and faithful bunch that endures that wasteland's challenges each and every day. These people settle in Bal-Assandi, a town that was built in the center of the Reaching Hand many centuries ago. Many of them are pilgrims who came to pray at the shrine at the center of town and decided to live the rest of their lives within the shadow of the Reaching Hand. These people have dedicated their lives to the teachings of the Orkina Temple, their unbreakable faith dictating their every action. Some old warriors and priests who served the temple come to Bal-Assandi to live out their final days in the shadow of their creators; when they die, their bodies are cremated so their ash may become a part of Udamar and Tubera's tomb.   With the scarce natural resources of the wasteland, the locals have relied on trade with traveling merchants and hunting the local wildlife. Since the land is so unwelcoming to many, merchants tended to avoid the Ratr Isva for the longest time until lucrative individuals decided to capitalize on this issue. Some outdoorsmen took up the job of escorting these merchants through the wasteland for a fee, creating common routes for not only traders but also pilgrims and other travelers. Sherpas have since become Bal-Assandi's greatest source of income, causing the town to undergo an economic expansion that allowed the town to become a thriving trading hub. Even with the lack of established roads connecting it to the rest of Stelwen, Bal-Assandi and the Ratr Isva as a whole have become a major point in the continent's trade routes.
Type
Wasteland
Included Locations

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