The Great Nirkana.
It’s cities cling to the course of the river, providing much needed life and magical power to sustain its people. Stretching over a dozen miles away from the riverbanks are fertile land, the waters abundant bounty giving life to the lush banks of the Nirkana, catering for every physical need and nurturing all that call it home.
There are countless rivers and waterbodies throughout Evalaw that could be heralded as important or sacred to one civilisation or another that call their banks home. But none can arguably be more integral to the very survival of the life that has grown up around them than the Great Nirkana, a rather peculiar river that runs throughout the vast Dsja'taresh, the seemingly endless subterranean desert found deep in the bowels of the world. Carving it’s course through the landscape, the great river Nirkana runs the length of the Dsja'taresh. Tumbling forth from the Dsja'taresh highlands, this dark ribbon in the midst of the sweltering desert snakes its way across the land, cutting deep channels in cliffs as it thunders toward the Boiling Abyss, the vast underocean to the south. Here the Nirkana begins to fan out into an immense spread of waterways, islands, lakes and swamps before joining the sea.
The blessed Nirkana is an abundant source of life, providing a thriving habitat for countless creatures, enriching the soil and providing water to both humanoids and animals alike.
Despite the existence of this tranquil Oasis amongst the bleak unforgiving sands, and the rich tapestry of life it sustains. Like much of Evalaw's Underworld, the Nirkana and its tributaries can be a treacherous place, wrought with countless danger and perils that have led many Ill prepared explorers to a less than savoury end. Either by the rivers unseen natural hazards or running afoul to the beasts that lurk along its waters. Many will also find the locals to be less than hospitable to outlanders the further down the Nirkana one dares to venture.
Renowned for its magically infused waters, they act as the very lifeblood to the settlements that cling to its course, to sustain the people and animals that call it home. Bringing to life the lush valley's and river banks within an otherwise lifeless desert. For without the great Nirkana, the Dsja'taresh would be nothing more than a barren wasteland. Buried beneath the world, a lifeless tomb for the hollow sun to slowly fade away in solitude. The diminishing light of this dying celestial body ebbs and fades during the day. This cavern has its own irregular day and night cycles of searing brightness and chilling cold darkness as the dunes calm. The Nirkana provides refuge and safety from the irregular behaviour of the hollow sun, allowing many of the creatures that have formed and flourished here to adapt to the severe environment. Cults have flourished among the river cities that venerate and worship the river, epitomising it as a deity and veiwing themselves as it's guardians.
It's puzzling to conceive how clouds and weather patterns have somehow managed develop deep in this subterranean microclimate unique to the Dsja'taresh; even more perplexing is how life has managed to thrive among the verdant banks of the Nirkana river whose course we have travelled down for perhaps a fortnight? Furthermore the very nature of the impossible celestial body that looms ominously above the remarcable vaulted cavern ceiling is intriguing. Its bleak crimson glow casts light on everything below growing ever brighter before fading away into nothingness… While many would gaze upon such a sight and behold as a tale of whimsy or the ramblings of a madman lost in the twisting caverns below the world. Here I am, gazing upon the impossible, the fantastical in awe…
A Land of the Gods and Magic.
Water is revered as a precious commodity and mystical source of life in most subterranean societies where pure water can be scarce if non-existent. As a result, pristine waters imbued with magical characteristics that allow life to exist in what would otherwise be a cruel and desolate wasteland are understandably considered holy and revered. The people who inhabit the Nirkana have come to see themselves as protectors of this enchanted river, demonstrating their love of the river and dedication to it through the construction of stone monuments, monolithic sculptures, and places of worship. Many of them are dedicated to Osirah, the Goddess of Magic who has a close relationship with these hallowed waters. Her magic is thought to protect the Nirkana's people from the inhospitable Desert. Her power is believed to shield the Nirkana's inhabitants from the Desert, which perpetually gnaws away at the fertile plains along the river's banks. It represents the eternal struggle, waged for centuries between Osirah Goddess of the Nirkana and Sek-habti, Goddess of the Deserts.
The Nirkana is more than just a mere river, this is the very blood of our land. This is the a blessing from the Gods themselves.
Praise be to Osirah, mistress of the blessed rivers. Praise be to Sek-habti, tyrant of the desiccated sands. We ask your forgiveness lest you draw the ire of Nekharah, queen of life and death.Denizens of the river generally believe it to be a delicate balance in appeasing both Osirah and Sek-habti. Being careful not to favour one over the other lest they incur their wraith. Sandstorms, scourging winds, floods, droughts or plagues that can destroy crops or worse are but a few act of vengeance these two deities have been known to reign down on those who do not show them to proper respect. Such Worship is prolific amongst the isolated Ophidian communities of the Kmethekt Oasis and throughout the Kingdom of Phyraxgia where cults to these antediluvian deities remain rife. Intricate temple complexes are constructed in veneration to their chosen gods, where the people know they are as important to the Gods as the river and the land are. To the northern reaches of the Nirkana, while the vast majority of the denizens of Zhennu'janai have long been indoctrinated into the Temple of the Seven Signs, remnants of the old cults to the Osirah and Sek-habti still exists in pockets. However in their customs these two beings are not gods, but powerful Djins. Two bitter rivals set into a constant state of conflict with one another and are the reason why the Dsja'taresh is filled with so much magic and impossible phenomena throughout; Why the river runs, weather and clouds exists and that a celestial body exists in its subterranean depths. That both these beings have for centuries being vying to outdo the other, in a contest that is beyond the understanding of mortals. These ancient superstitions still drive the need to make offerings to shrines to appease the belligerent beings by all echelons of scoiety. While tolerated, a close eye is vigilantly kept on the Cults by members of The Templar Order should this heresy ever pose a threat.
Geography.The Nirkana is a rich tapestry of plant life and untamed steaming forests and wide open plains on its banks. Fed by numerous waterway that reach out from riverbeds into savannas and plains. It is a haven from the merciless desert, which gnaws at these fertile lands, creating a home for innumerable wildlife, including many species of birds, fish, and amphibians that have come to call its rich dark waters home. Vast swaths of savanna and tall grasses stretch outward from the Valley and Delta. Numerous herd animals and birds graze here, providing ideal hunting grounds for predators. Such beautiful vistas and an abundance of plants and food attracted many more monstrous creatures lurking behind its picturesque surface. The delta's marshes, bogs, and dense jungles are home to enormous carnivorous reptiles, unusual predatory felines, vicious crocodilian behemoths, and virulent cobra-headed hydras.
The exactly length of the Nirkana is something that has never been accurately measured. It is approximated that the stretch between the Dsja'taresh Highlands to the coasts of the Nirkana Delta in the south stretches 4,800 miles. However, no expedition has ever been able to correctly confirm this approximation, many attempts have fallen a foul or disappeared entirely. Then there are the Phyraxgias of the Nirkana delta whom are not known to be the most forthcoming with such information or accommodating to outsiders. The Rivers source is believed to originate from the myriad of subterranean lakes and rivers found in The Caverns of Ameranth. Springs drawn up through the shimmering depths, or the geysers from The Volcanic Basin deep below Ameranth. Such waters are pure, richly imbued with residual magical energy that permeate from the crystalline chambers and channels these springs are pushed up from.
During the winter seasons on the surface, the underworld becomes wetter, it's oceans and enormous river galleries rise dramatically increase as torrents of water flood into the world below. The Nirkana is no exception to this. The Southern regions of the Nirkana delta is the wettest and most humid amongst the regions of the river, during this winter season the riverbanks begin to overflow, flooding the fields and nourishing them with silt. These season of floods last for several months, renewing the land and fertilising the farms.
Table of Contents
A Land Of The Gods And Magic.
River of the Dead.
Trade And Transportation.
The Great Nirkana Bestiary.
River of the Dead.
The relationship between Phyraxgian religious funerary practices and the Nirkana are closely intertwine. It is common for one to see funerary barges making their way up and down the Delta, with white robed necromancers and priests of the mortuary cult on board. This voyage marks the final journey for the bodies on board, as they make the journey toward the Necropolis of Nekharah, where their bodies will be embalmed and prepared to rest peacefully in the afterlife, and not suffer the virulent curse of unlife that plagues the dead of the river kingdom.
The river plays an important role in the final stage of Phyraxgian life.
…The name of the Goddess Nekharah and the river Nirkana can be forgiven by outsiders of these lands to be misconstrued. In Phyraxgian Culture, Nekharah possesses the dichotomy of life and death, and therefore associated with the rivers role in that circle. She is by no means the deity of the river…