Isle of Senteru
Away from these screes, the mountains are high enough that there is snow on their peaks for most of the year, though at sea level snow is a rarity even in mid-winter. The upland areas below the high peaks are predominantly rough grassland though stands of trees
Fauna & Flora
Several notable species of animals are found on the isle that are rarely encountered elsewhere, for example...
The Gethu is somewhat between a sheep and a goat in form and widely herded by the Monkin-ban on the uplands of the island. They use it for meat, milk, fibre and as a pack animal.
The Corriew is a bird of prey encountered in the highland areas and to northern coast; an unusually large and powerful eagle like bird they have been known to take young gethu or unattended children of the Monkin-ban.
The Senterran Nobis - a troutlike fish that spawns in most of the rivers and watercourses of the island. It is rarely fished but large harvests are taken of them during the spawning season (in late spring) and preserved by drying as well as forming the basis of the celebration of the start to the seasons of plenty by the Taru.
The Hurrix is a rodent like animal with similarities to both rat and rabbit. It is common to most parts of Senteru and a bane to the growers of grain and vegetables at whatever elevation. It breeds rapidly in the summer and is hunted in summer and autumn by both humans and Monkin-ban for reasons of both sport and necessity.The most notable plant of the island is the Sweetoak, a variant of the oak tree known across Tarusia but one which yields acorns which are sweet and good to eat. Legend says that it was a gift from the Aroinning to the Taru and that as it can only be propagated by grafting, the Aroinning also taught this skill to the Taru. Legend also tells of a prophecy that the Aroinning will sweep the Taru from the island if the Sweetoak should become extinct, so groves of these trees are widely planted across the parts of the island settled by the Taru.
Metals and minerals are widely mined by the Monkin-doo though they no longer have access to the silver mines beneath Sbrithnir's Roost. Many of these are locally wrought and traded with the Taru, but the export trade lead by Mor merchants is increasingly important.
Fish in the rivers and surrounding seas. The rocky foreshore is a good source of shellfish with the And Clam much prized for its flesh and the decorative purposes to which its shell can be put.
Although there are significant areas of forest they are not widely exploitable owing to the steepness of much of the land. Couple this with the Taru's respect for nature and fallen wood for fuel is the most unusual use. And woe betide any who put axe to tree in the northern forests.
Sentient Geography of SenteruThe Isle of Senteru is perhaps unique for the variety of the sentient species it houses. This is reflective of the history of settlement of the Isle and it bears some consideration.
The Fin-aroinNow confined to the northern tip of Senteru, bounded by the rivers Marrickrun and Ettinrun the Fin-aroin are one of the original (or at least) earliest settlers of the Isle. To judge from the ruins left in other parts of the Isle they were once of greater stature and strength than now, as well as of greater intelligence - generations of inbreeding in a small population having reduced their average size to half as high again as a human. They owe their survival in large part to their enduring relationship with the Aroinning and may occasionally be found as hired labour to the Monkin-ban for ground clearance.
The AroinningThe aroinning are the more sentient of the trees of the mobile forests of Ettinsides. They act as treeherds to their brethren and as a rule rarely take kindly to the other sentient species aside from the Fin-aroin, though many of the Tarembura, especially those resident in Senteru for several decades get on well with them. They may occasionally be encountered elsewhere on Senteru, so a wise traveller is a careful one when it comes to matters of firewood, cooking or the building of shelters - for being ground to a pulp by the trampling of an enraged aroinning is seldom a pleasant start to the day.
The MonkinSettlements of both the Monkin-doo and the Monkin-ban are found across most of the highlands. As is typically the case, the Monkin-doo dwell deep underground mining and excavating their settlements; the Monkin-ban dwell on or close to the surface engaged in agriculture and pastoralism, tending small plots and gardens in the sheltered upland areas and managing their herds on the more open and exposed parts. The Monkin-doo have were expelled from their settlement under Sbrithnir's Roost over a millennium ago and are waiting on Sbrithnir's demise from old age before reclaiming their territory; the Monkin-ban on the slopes of this mountain have entered into good relations with the Drakiss of Sbrithnir's Crew.
The DrakissA community of Drakiss, forming Sbrithnir's Crew dwell in the smaller chambers and tunnels of Sbrithnir's roost. Though on good terms with the Monkin-ban, they remain engaged in a low level, subterranean war with the Monkin-doo beneath the mountains surface.
The DrakkunSo far as is known, Sbrithnir is the only drakkun to be found on Senteru. She has been little seen in the last few centuries having been largely reclusive since her mate, Jorroth was killed around a thousand years ago (see The Legend of Carron's Daughter for the Mor's take on this) but she takes an interest in the business of the Tarembura and enjoys manipulating their tales over their many generations.
The TaruWhilst the Monkin-ban dominate the uplands of Senteru, the lowlands are occupied by the Taru, with their densest settlements on in Andcoom, Closcoom and around the sheltered inlet of Langsund. They have a good relationship with the Monkin, and trade their grain and other produce with both Monkin-doo and Monkin-ban. The northern limits of their settlement are marked by the rivers Marrikrun and Ettinrun, beyond which they seldom tread for fear of the Fin-aroin and Aroinning. These borders are stable and uncontested, with a dry stone wall marking the limits of their settled land with the Monkin-ban (for all that the Monkin and the Taru agree their boundary, the Gethu tend to roam wherever there is food to be found).
The MorFew of the Mor are to be found on Senteru; the traders of Orris have an outpost on Langsund at Senkeys and a small settlement is on the island of Haverhome off the southern tip of the Isle. They deal with much of the trade to and from Senteru providing an outlet for the manufactures of the Monkin-doo and facilitating the movement of the Tarembura - the benefits of trade overcoming the ethnic tension between the two human races.
Aah, Senteru... A good place to sell wine, cloth and news for fine wrought gold. But stay aboard your boats at night and wander not in the hills.
Colleges of the TaremburaThe Isle of Senteru is the cultural heart of the Taru; at least since they became a minority on the Tarusian mainland. This culture is kept alive by the Tarembura who are trained and study on Sentatu. Their colleges are more communal houses holding between 12 and 20 Tarembura who attend them to hear, learn and transmit both the traditional tales and knowledge of the Taru communities around Tarusia. They earn their living within the Taru communities by acting as a combination or bards, minstrels, story tellers and healers - similar to how they make their way in the wider Taru community.
A Tarembura will typically study on Senteru for 8 years, moving between several of the colleges, before beginning a roving life in Tarusia. Most will return to Senteru every few years to pass on their knowledge and learn of goings on elsewhere or new stories and songs.
Traversing Larrickside Pass
On my first visit to Senteru I had need to travel from Andcoom to the settlements of Closcoom and though the route through the Larrickside Pass suitable. I set out at dawn on the first Secondy of Flitch expecting it to take me 6 days, for though it is 5 daywalks the path is rough and steep. It took me 8 for there were many rock falls and the footing perilous at times despite it being a valley route. The highlight was at dawn on the fifth day when I saw Sbrithnir returning to her roost - this was accounted a favourable portent by my hosts in Closcoom for it was the first sighting of her in 20 years that they had heard of.