Some could argue that Bower Bog is more of a saltmarsh or a lagoon than a true bog, but the power of snappy illiteration has easily won out over time. In any case, it has become an increasingly well-known location in Greymantle Marsh, both because of the notable island that rises out of the body of water at its heart, and the very unique clan of harpies that have reshaped it and call it home.
The vast majority of Bower Bog is either covered by brackish water, or consists of earth and mats of vegetation that are too soft to build--or even stand easily--upon, forming a saltmarsh that shifts with the tides. At the heart of this marsh is a persistent lagoon, which bears an island that has given this area its name. For many generations, a large clan of harpies has ruled the territory from this island, and they have taken it upon themselves to act as both stewards and absolute masters of their surroundings. Not only have they dominated and shaped the island upon which they roost, but they have exerted far more effort into agricultural and ecological engineering than any other documented Harpy clan. The waterways, plant growth, and wildlife in the area have all been changed in subtle (and, occasionally, not-so-subtle) ways by the harpies, ultimately altered to the matriarch's design. The ways in which the harpies have changed the face of the landscape is not only functional, but aesthetic as well, to the point that many of the alterations seem to have had no practical purpose at all. Aside from decorations being hung and hidden in random locations all throughout the territories, constructions of rocks and peat, living plants that have been braided or woven together, scarrified treebark, and interestingly-shaped pools can also be found. In some ways, the geography of Bower Bog could be considered as one collective, living piece of art.
The resident harpies have harnessed the natural processes of tide, peat growth, and the various ways that wildlife interact with their habitat to engineer specific areas that suit their various needs. Mudflats have been localized to give them regular hunting grounds, some areas have been flooded or drained via the movement of peat and debris, and upland streams have been altered to feed more freshwater into their lagoon. They have also encouraged various species of plants and animals to thrive in their territory, to either serve as food sources, eradicate undesired species, or alter the landscape in beneficial ways.
Like the rest of Greymantle Marsh, the seasons here are relatively more wet and mild than in the rest of the kingdom, with this area of the wetland being particularly prone to winds coming in from the direction of the sea. However, with the engineering done on the part of the harpies, stands of windbreaking vegetation have been encouraged to grow--and, in some cases, literally woven together to create more of a wind shield. This makes the Bower Bog something of a respite from the more chilled and windblown wetland surrounding it.
Fauna & Flora
Greymantle harpies are clearly the apex species in the area, but certain other species have been disproportionately encouraged to flourish here as well. Several plant species that are known to be pervasive and fiercely competitive in the rest of the marsh have been regularly uprooted here, allowing for fruiting species and other plants that the harpies consider beneficial to thrive. The harpies also engage in basic agriculture, tending isolated pools to grow certain species of aquatic plants and animals for their use. Species that have been encouraged also include those who alter the landscape in ways that benefit the harpies, such as beaver and certain species of large mudworm, and they have worked to keep the area clear of species that work against their design, such as boar and very large herbivore species.
Many of the more uncommon marshland treasures can be found thriving here, especially rare species of plants and estuarine invertebrates. These are carefully tended and fiercely guarded by the resident harpies, reserved solely for their use, and poachers are hunted down without mercy. If one wants access to any of the natural resources within the territory, they must attempt to strike up a deal with the harpies. These attemps are always risky and can end up in brutal failure, but with how inhospitable the majority of Greymantle Marsh is, this is still an appealing option for many who seek out rare ingredients.
The harpies that rule Bower Bog have been altering the face of their territory for as long as the area has been recorded in history. While various disputes have rolled through the area over the years--both from outside sources and from competing harpy clans--none have permanently shaken the clan's hold. In light of this, it could be argued that though Lockhinge City controls all of Greymantle in the eyes of the king, this area very much still belongs to its original owners, who have never had control pried from their talons.
Bower Bog's greatest claim to fame is that it is the only instance of a harpy-owned territory welcoming outside contact of any kind. Normally, harpy-dominated locales are visited only for the resources found there, and harpies are simply seen as an incidental element that needs to be dealt with--one way or another. However, visitation and usage of Bower Bog's resources is well-known to be far more trouble than its wort, due to the unfalteringly-watchful eyes of its harpy stewards. Instead, if any outsider is visiting the bog, it is because of its harpy rulers. However risky and ill-advised visits are known to be, scholars, traders, and other adventurous souls continue to do so, hoping desperately that they will be welcomed by the fickle harpies instead of hunted by them.