The Wet Rift, Saol na Bhan Geographic Location in Scidon | World Anvil
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The Wet Rift, Saol na Bhan

The Wet Rift

"I've a sailed 'ese waters fer nigh on fifty years an there ain't still no sight like them cliffs opening into that ocean, makes me feel like a lucky groom on me wedden night. Them rocky faces just beckonin' me int their money makin' caress!" -Captain Shadri of the Smoking Monkey.


The Wet Rift, known as the Saol na Bhan by the Táutha de Bhád is one of the four large ravines that strike out from around Lake Volitaire in the center of the continent after a great asteroid impact created the lake and caused the fracturing a couple of millenia ago. The Wet rift is so named as while all of the rifts contain waterways somewhere along their length the wet rift is the only one where this is navigable the whole way from the coast to the capitol city of Volitaris.

This has meant that since the rise of the Volitarian Empire a thousand years ago the Wet Rift has become part of the most important and profitable trade route on the continent, bringing timber, furs and exotic beasts from Icerack and the Yellow Sea along with spices, dyes, quality paper and metals from Ra'sang and the Veridian Swamps to the largest markets in the world in Volitaris.

The Wet Rift was important long before this however, cutting through Silvanus the homeland of the declined Elven Caliphate and the largest forest on the planet the wet rift provides groundwater to this essential ecosystem. It has also long been quarried for the beautiful white marble that makes up it's cliffsides.


Natural Features

The Wet Rift is a long river that twists and turns along a great ravine that is at it's widest 250ft wide and 900ft deep making it smaller than the other Rifts if only measured to the water level, some scholars have proposed that the rift might actually be deeper than the Deep Rift in the East if the deepest parts of the river were measured but no conclusive studies have ever been made as the world below the surface of the continents second largest river is famously perilous with powerful undercurrents and many beasts documented and undocumented. The Rift cuts through a large marble plate for most of it's run including it's end Where it juts out into shining white cliffs.

The rift is pock-marked with caves both above and below the water line that make great hiding places for man and beast alike. In the past pirates were known to lurk within some of the larger caves and would raid or force levies of traders trying to get by but the might of the Volitarian Navy has cleared the river of all but the most foolish or elusive Pirates. The caves also grew to be an anchoring point for some of the cities built along the river; the Corrundun Clan of Dwarves, famous for their closely guarded invention of black explosive powder has their town of Corrund built into an extensive cave system that extends on either side of the river. Also the port city of Gnavel built in the saltwater estuary near the bottom of the river makes use of these caves for many of their poorer citizens.

The Rift runs for around 1500 miles the last 100 miles or so of which is a salt water estuary where the tidal forces clash with the lazy river flow, this and the ravine cutting off a lot of the wind makes the sail up the river hard and tedious generally requiring rowers or magic for much of the journey to make any progress against the river at all.

The caves in the ravine also make many hiding spots for the creatures that inhabit these dangerous waters, these creatures have become increasingly bizarre and dangerous as like the other rifts there appears to be some sort of chaotic energy rising from below the ground causing strange mutations and accelerated evolution among all manners of creatures that live there. There have even been rumours of great beasts who's dark appendages reach from one side of the ravine to the other.

Citizens of the Rift

Due to the lucrative trade along the length of the rift and it's existance as a natural border for the old Elven Caliphate there are many settlements along the length of the river; from ancient elven forts fallen to disrepair to thriving trade towns. Importantly the Capitol city of Volitaris sits above lake Volitaire which acts as a major source for the river. Lake Volitaire set on the Otruscan Plateau has acted as a large elevated water reserve, since it was formed by the impact of a large asteroid, for which the wet rift is the only surface drain. Water pours into the ravine at the Starfall Falls, the only waterfall along the length of the rift. A massive waterfall 150ft high that sprays a constant mist over the dock town around it. But more impressive still is the Gate of Many Paths a large monument the height of the rift itself protecting the dock town and Volitaris itself, a gate of gleaming metal and monument to one of the Patron gods of Volitaris that symbolises the ideal of freedom and opportunity for all the city is meant to offer.

Around the falls is the Gate locks, a system that siphons water from the falls to carry ships up from the start of the rift unto Lake Volitaire from which the Volitarian navy project their power. This is accompanied by a series of hundreds of pulleys that use the force of the falls to drag trade goods and people who can't afford the limited use of the locks, up to the surface where the bottom layer of Volitaris awaits.

From this great city populated by millions of all races and creeds a number of smaller towns stretch down the river, many using smaller scale replicas of the ancient pulley systems at Starfall Falls where smaller tributaries feed into the river.

It is around 200 miles downstream where the next real city appears, the city of Burnspire, built around the most northern of the old Elven forts the city sits mainly on the west side of the rift but is known for the massive wooden bridge that crosses the chasm of elven make as it is the first place that a carriage can cross the rift since the Starfall docks. The old fort there was purportedly destroyed in the dragon wars before the fracturing and parts of the marble catacombs beneath are shown open to the elements on either side of the rift. As such these have be turned into homes for the wealthy with glass floors overlooking the waterway beneath. The spire itself, white marble charred black and melted, partially refurbished into a town hall and mayor's house for the affluent trading town.

It is past this point on the river you would begin to encounter Táutha de Bhád, the travelling folk of the river. Knowing the waterways and caves better than any other they can disappear into the caves barges and all without much trace. Generally looked down upon by the less transcient denizens of the area and more often called the Bad folk and seen as little different from the raiders and pirates, their's is a culture older than most some say they survived the long night in those caves. However those who truly know them will know they are a far cry from pirates abstaining from violence completely even in self defence, believing it better to run and hide. Due to this they will take on any who asks for their help and despite their haphazard look their strange barges can disappear around a bend in the river faster than pursuers tend to expect.

Starting another 500 miles downstream where tributaries from the Bronze Hills run into the Wet Rift there are a number of dwarven settlements, many use the myriad of natural caves and tunnels as a natural beginning for classic dwarf excavations. Dwarfs from this area in particular the city of Corrundun home to the Corrundun Clan of Dwarves are known for a particular style of artifice based around a strange black powder the nature of which is a closely guarded secret. What is known is how this powder has begun to be used both in powerful shipborne cannons and hand held weapons and to power some ships up and down the currents of the Wet Rift. Man power or magic remain the most common propellants however.

As the rift nears the sea the cliffs become smaller and the river deeper, Also the land on either side of the river clears out of the heavy woods of Silvanus and becomes some of the continents most arable farmland. Thus the frequency of towns and villages along it's length increase which seems to have drawn the population away from forming into larger cities. One notable location is Planktown, so named for the maze of small wooden walkways and bridges that make up a lot of the town. A largely poverty stricken town made up of a number of dumped castaways and unsavoury types, the nicer areas are on the cliffsides like most towns but below in a particularly dense cave system and all along the sides of the rift for a distance are built hanging wooden shacks and walkways. This town is infamous as the home of the Lex Saccularius, the largest and most influential crime syndicate on the continent.

The most densely populated area of the river is the tidal estuary, here the rift splits into 2 roughly equally sized paths, the island created by this is known as Syrac and is home to the ancient elven city of Dormyra, some say the magic of the high mages there are to credit for causing the rift to split just before reaching the city. While raised almost entirely to the ground in the Long Night roughly a thousand years ago a proud elven population moved back there and has been rebuilding upon the ancient and largely forgotten rubble. Also on the outmost tip of the island is the Ivory tower, one of the 4 mysterious towers at the corners of the continent. It is of a strange design seemingly grown out of the rock and was ancient long before Dormyra was built.

Also in the estuary is the city of Gnavel, a massive port city that stretches around the cliff coast for 30 miles while only in a few places stretching more than a mile from the coast. Some say it is the most active dock on the continent and is filled with markets selling goods from all over the world. It is also home to a large Volitarian Garrison and fleet that keeps the city safe from raiders coming from sea or land and more importantly makes sure the emperor gets his cut of all the trade flowing through the city.



The Wet Rift

Under the dominion of the Volitarian Empire. It is the second Largest river on the continent and the busiest trade route.




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May 28, 2022 10:26

Good article with a nice breaking up of the text with the various images. It was also interesting to read about the various communities around the rift.

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May 28, 2022 11:18 by Olarae & Astaroth Arcaine

Really love this, the idea that a natural disaster essentially created a geographic fault that allowed life to flourish and civilisations to blossom. Fantastic!

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May 31, 2022 15:58 by Michael Chandra

I would really enjoy just settling with a small group in a cave and trading with passing-by merchants.

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