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Darkwater River

What Is The Darkwater River?

  The Darkwater River is not just a river, but an entire river system based around the great lake, Diamond Lake. All rivers, and their tributaries, going into and out of the lake are called Darkwater. None of them have formal names though people identify each of them as a branch.
Took a load o' cypress logs up into the Nar. My, what a row!

Nar means the northern-most western branch of Darkwater. In fact, most folks simply refer to the entire system as the Darkwaters. Miribex maps only mark the Darkwater branches. Smaller yet still navigable rivers feeding into these branches are marked on river charts for each of the branches. Towns and cities on the Kingdom map can look to be well away from the Darkwaters, yet still will often have a small harbor where merchant keelboats can come and go along these smaller rivers. A good and proper skipper or captain will have a barrel full of river charts kept as up to date as they can afford.   The many branches of the Darkwater serves the human Kingdom of Miribex as a grand highway for travel and trade. From jolly boats for fishers to keelboats for merchants and riverfolk to river ships for the major trading companies and noble ventures, there is always something floating, sailing, or rowing along the Darkwaters.    

Darkwater River Hazards

 
"Can't see much with this mist, cap'n," the helmsman complained to Captain Sharpes.   "It'll burn off now that the sun's out, Spooks," Captain Sharpes told his nervous helmsman. He pointed to the bright spot in the thin veil of mist surrounding them.   "Don't like not seeing clear." Spooks persisted. "This part of the river's tricky on clear days." He scowled at the mist. "There's tales of wickedly things happening in the mist."   Captain Sharpes rolled his eyes. If Spooks wasn't such a master Darkwater helmsman, he'd have gotten rid of his whining ages ago. Probably chained to an anchor.   "We're not going back to the main channel." Captain Sharpes told him. "The Miri Marines're watching for us."   "I don't know, cap'n." The helmsman whined.   Captain Sharpes took a deep breath, held it, and let it out slow. He said nothing more though his hand twitched towards the cutlass sheathed at his belt.
— excerpt from Broken Keel Bend
  Rapids, where the waters flow fast and shallow over great jumbles of rocks, can smash a boat or hang up a ship. Over the centuries, deep channels have been dug through these rapids to allow for boats and ships to pass unscathed. Even so, it takes a knowing hand at the helms and rudders to keep to these channels while fighting the currents.   Shifting silt bars where branches merge or enter Diamond Lake are also a constant hazard. The locals work hard dredging these places every spring right after the winter runoff has settled down. These are generally a seasonal danger.   The most dangerous hazards are not made by the riverway itself. There are riverfolk who have taken to piracy (under the watchful approval of The Hand). There are hungry river lions who, if their pride is numerous enough, will hunt people on watercraft. Perhaps the most terrifying of all are the mysterious Bander-laggin, who will slip into some misty bend of a river and ambush the unwary.     The protection of trade upon the Darkwaters is so important to the Kingdom, that the King commands an impressive river navy called the Miribex River Mariners. These Mariners, most often called Miri Marines, patrol all the branches of the Darkwater as well as Diamond Lake in well-armed river ships.   The Miri Marines are the bane of any would-be pirates should they ever get caught. Still, the Darkwaters cover hundreds of river miles and, even though the Marines command many ships, they just cannot be everywhere at once.  

The Non-Human Peoples On The Darkwaters

  Other folk live along the Darkwaters, though their numbers are fewer than the humans whose realm this is.   Coming from their colder lands to the northeast are the Brahmaur, a large bovine folk who seek to work on boats or serve as sellswords.   Gheni caravaners, with their massive woollyrusses, have taken to using those beasts to pull along barges. On these barges are their wagons, strapped down but still ready to roll off should they wish to journey beyond the reaches of the Darkwaters.   Finally, there are the troublesome Nisslings, known mostly as deadly pests to those who live near any lands a tribe might call theirs. When they prove too much of a threat for trade to travel by, the Marines will go in and cull their numbers.    

Darkwater History

  Humans have lived along the Darkwater River and its tributaries for thousands of years. Most were of the Skiven, a hunter-gatherer culture. Others were of the Mundliers, an agricultural culture that prefered permanent settlements. The arrival of the Gheni some 3400 years ago changed the native humans way of life. Inspired by the gheni, humans first became explorers, then settlers. They expanded out along all the lesser rivers to the Shear Mountains of the west, to the Tugi Mountains of the east and as far south as the Wildlands, the southern limits of the Darkwaters.   As the humans expanded, they developed better and bigger boats until, 300 years after the arrival of the Gheni, the first river ships were made and humans began to explore the Great Ocean beyond the coastal waters.   Human took to living on oceanic islands, forming new kingdoms to match the kingdoms of the Darkwaters in wealth and prestige. Then, about 1500 years ago, the Druidican elves marched into the Darkwaters region, looking to purge the Gheni as well as the humans who could remember that the Gheni existed.   Not one kingdom along the Darkwaters was strong enough to repel the invaders. For the first time, every human kingdom came together and formed one great alliance. With the speed of their boats, it was possible to rally their forces and carry out counterstrikes against the Druidican Elves. It took fifty years. but the humans, with their Gheni friends, finally drove out the Druidicans.  

Miribexi

Druidican Elf

Grinannti

  After such a great victory, people returned to the comfort of their own kingdoms, longing to return to life before the invasion. This, however, did not last more than a handful of years as the Grinannti, a rugged folk standing ten feet tall with four arms marched from the west, out of the Shear Mountains. Savage, brutal, and with a taste for any flesh smaller than themselves, they ravaged humans and Gheni alike.   Once again, the Human kingdoms formed their great alliance. They also hired Brahmaur mercenaries to aid in the fighting. This time, it only took five years to not only repel the Grinannti threat but to drive them to the western slopes of the Shear Mountains.   By the end of the Grinannti Invasion, the Darkwater Kingdoms decided that their Great Alliance would become one great kingdom. Each of the original kingdoms turned into a dukedom that would continue to be ruled by their own ways and traditions. All of the seven kings gave a letter from their names to be used in the making of a new name for this great kingdom.   And so, the Miribex Kingdom came to be. One further declaration was that the Darkwater River and all its branches would also forever more be known by one name, so it, too, would be as unified as the original kingdoms were.
"And that is how the Darkwaters came to share one name," the old woman said to the children sitting on the woven oval rug at the foot of her rocker. "As the waters share one name, so do we. We are the Miribexi upon the Darkwaters."

Ecology

  The Darkwaters run deep, providing a varied environment for a grand assortment of water creatures to thrive. Some are very dangerous. Be careful where you swim. Others are quite delicious. A few are both.  
Hendling Shrimp
In the northern branch these shrimp can grow to a foot long.
 
by meinig
Pike
There are many types of fish, including the pike which can reach six feet in length in the southern branches.
 
River Lion
They are so adorable ... until you find several of them trying to hunt you.
 
Snapper
A big slow moving turtle until it tries to bite. Its jaws move fast as lightning and can bite off an arm.
 
Miribex Kingdom
They only continental human kingdom.
 

The Seasons on the Darkwaters

 
Winter

Rivers freeze over in winter with the exception of the Darkwaters. This does not mean there is no ice. Chunks of ice grow and flow along. The slower deeper parts of the Darkwater will grow bigger and more dangerous chunks of ice. Boats and ships in harbors spend every morning and evening clearing ice from around their hulls. Only the southern branches in the Wildlands are free of winter ice.  
Spring

When winter melts away, the Darkwaters swell and run with savage power as they carry the runoff and debris like fallen trees and branches that often lurk below the surface waiting to plunge into a hull. Spring is also the rainy season in the Wildlands so the southern branches are also swollen and savage.  
Summer and Fall

These two seasons are when the Darkwaters are at their best. Boats and ships travel about the most in these seasons and trade thrives at its fullest.

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Cover image: by whateverjustpickone

Comments

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Sage RandoScorpio
RandoScorpio
6 May, 2022 21:44

What a thorough history. I love the river pirates and the Miri Marines. I think it's cool that you thought the people would have set up a force to fight against piracy, just like in history. I think sometimes we get blinded by the pirates and forget about the long arm of the law. It's a neat river and it would be fun to have adventures all along its branches.

If you have the time, stop by The Ravmor River, my entry for May's waterways and river challenge. I love to hear feedback and see what others love or hate about what I've written. What do you want more of? Less of?
The Ravmor cuts through the dense Aristosa forest. Hiding terrifying monsters beneath its deep, fast currents, and ignoring forgotten legends could end the world around it.
6 May, 2022 22:12

Thank you! Yes, you can't really be a daring swashbuckler if there isn't the dread of being caught by some Authority lol

Here is my River Challenge Darkwater River! Come vist my world Pangorio for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures ! Hypnosium is my new world I will be trying to fill for Summer Camp ... perhaps even sooner if the muse sttrikes.
9 May, 2022 21:48

As a vengeful pirate, I would so sabotage a military action against nisslings, so that they would get into a lot of trouble and death. And I want to take in a group of river lions as pets. o,o

10 May, 2022 11:22

LOL you would be a rather infamous river pirate then!

Here is my River Challenge Darkwater River! Come vist my world Pangorio for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures ! Hypnosium is my new world I will be trying to fill for Summer Camp ... perhaps even sooner if the muse sttrikes.
16 May, 2022 18:14

watr foolk stoopid, donut mek boots for all four hander nissling mek gud suup - fraath of the big rucks   Seriously though, I am really impressed by the variety of people interacting with this river! Dibs if you ever create an RP party around this to play a Grinannti!

Que the wardrums! Check out my bloodied river, running from the heart of the jungle:River Arteria!
17 May, 2022 12:35

lol ... I was not intending to make the Grinannti a player race ... hmmm

Here is my River Challenge Darkwater River! Come vist my world Pangorio for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures ! Hypnosium is my new world I will be trying to fill for Summer Camp ... perhaps even sooner if the muse sttrikes.
10 May, 2022 17:20

I really like how you've described so many species living along the Darkwater and how they interact. I also really like the ecology section, and your formatting is very effective.

- Hello from Valayo! Featured work: How to Write Great Competition Articles
10 May, 2022 21:01

Thank you!

Here is my River Challenge Darkwater River! Come vist my world Pangorio for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures ! Hypnosium is my new world I will be trying to fill for Summer Camp ... perhaps even sooner if the muse sttrikes.
10 May, 2022 18:22

I really like how in-depth this article goes into varying subjects! Great job. I really like how the kingdoms banded together into an empire for protection, but the dukedoms kept their power!

*TimeBender*
10 May, 2022 21:04

yes ... that's what makes the politics spicy lol. They do have a set of MIRIBEX LAWS all Dukedoms follow, though

Here is my River Challenge Darkwater River! Come vist my world Pangorio for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures ! Hypnosium is my new world I will be trying to fill for Summer Camp ... perhaps even sooner if the muse sttrikes.
10 May, 2022 21:07

Ooh, yeah that makes sense! It would be difficult to run an empire without a standard set of laws.

*TimeBender*
12 May, 2022 07:05

I love the various races and their intertwined history. The idea of river pirates drew me in, I’m picturing a Jack Sparrow sort with a pet River Lion, lashing together giant Snappers to escape the Miri Marines during a spring flood.

Feel free to check out my River Challenge entry Arresadi River.
12 May, 2022 16:38

LOL!

Here is my River Challenge Darkwater River! Come vist my world Pangorio for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures ! Hypnosium is my new world I will be trying to fill for Summer Camp ... perhaps even sooner if the muse sttrikes.
15 May, 2022 05:33

My favourite bit was how the name of the kingdom was formed and why the river is only known by one name <3   It was also great seeing another article that has a lot of past challenge articles to link to. It's great when a competition finally "makes" you write an important part of your world, isn't it?

15 May, 2022 10:52

I have also has this river in my head but not until the challenge did I bother to write it ... and now so much of it all links up lol

Here is my River Challenge Darkwater River! Come vist my world Pangorio for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures ! Hypnosium is my new world I will be trying to fill for Summer Camp ... perhaps even sooner if the muse sttrikes.
17 May, 2022 14:10

I like how you organized the article.   Sometimes the geography/ecological details take center stage while other stuff like the history and culture of the area get buried towards the bottom. You seem to have given a better balance with each getting highlighted.   Great article!   ----------------------------------------------------------------   Feel free to check out my Rivers/Waterways entry: Loch Mesner

17 May, 2022 23:37

Thanx!

Here is my River Challenge Darkwater River! Come vist my world Pangorio for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures ! Hypnosium is my new world I will be trying to fill for Summer Camp ... perhaps even sooner if the muse sttrikes.