Balarkavi Range Geographic Location in The Sundered Worlds | World Anvil
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Balarkavi Range

Land of vibrant abundance

The eastern edge of the Mythic Hinterlands is land of bounty and richness teeming with life and color. It boasts fertile soil and mountain-fed streams that create the ideal agrarian setting. Small patches of temperate, boreal wood dot the countryside, and vast fields of nearly infinite agricultrual diversity form a brilliant patchwork visible from the peaks of the Tels. Those who farm the land have a rich history of independent land ownership and are generationally grateful for what they have.

Home on the Range

The Range comprises the western foothills of the Tels and the fertile plains they flatten out to. Long, vicious winters define both mortal culture and ecological behaviors as everything living creature spends the warmer months in preparation.
Stone from the Tels and wood from both Varazslem and local forests are used to build the farmhouses and outbuildings of the freeholds. Stylistically, structures reflect the Balar's {NATIONALITY} roots as interpreted through local materials. Wooden columns support overhanging roofs that create shady gathering places, and stonework is painted vibrant colors. Freeholds are most commonly arranged on a large grid. A two- or three-story farmhouse will be surrounded by its fields and storage silos, and the other houses and buildings of the freehold decrease in size the further away from the main farms they are. A mill typically marks the northern edge of a given freehold for reasons lost to time.

Field guide to the Balarkavi Range

The Range is defined largely by agriculture. Many edible cereal grains, root vegetables, and fruiting plants grow naturally in the Range and the natural conditions leave plenty of room for cultivars from across the world. Wheat, oats, potatoes, turnips, beets, raddishes, carrots, grapes, a variety of gourds, and dozens of different bushberries all grow in such incredible variety, each farm is said to grow unique strains of each crop. Fruiting trees like apples, plums, and pears are cultivated in orchards in the more northern farms.
Coniferous forests of balsam fir, white and silver birch, white and black spruce, Balar mountain ash, plains aspen, jack and hillside pine, golden larch, red alder, golden juniper, and windy yew yield lumber, resin, and tar. Vast fields of running ground pine, half willow, blueberry, cloudberry, lingonberry, sasparilla, purple pitcher plant, winter grass, beauty sedge, Hinterland fairy bells, pine-drop, heather, quillwort, field horsetail, lady fern, Balar marigold, meadow and creeping buttercup, and annow draw pollinators from around the world on their migrations, while cotton crops provide fibers for textiles. Stiff and telsine clubmoss, as well as feather and sphagnum moss, undergird life both wild and domestic.
Balar commnities rarely keep livestock, though a few household animals are common sights. Balar drafts are wide, sturdy horses equally suited to plowing summer fields as trudging through snow, and many families keep hunting hounds. Prairie cats are almost never household pets, but ubiquitously found in villages to keep rodents out of food stores. Honeybees are loosely kept for their honey, while native flowers are often replanted near fields and gardens to encourage other pollinators like carpenter bees, cloudy hairstreaks, Balar blues, spicebush swallowtails, and cerulean topazes. Game big and small is trapped or hunted across the Range. From elk and moose, to hares and squirrels, to pheasants and quail, hunters are spoiled for choice. Bears, wolves, wolverines, and foxes pose common dangers, while moles, weasels, and sundry other rodents are everyday pests.
Birds are more likely to hunt over the plains than nest there, but boreal owls, winter grass grouse, golden eagles, wood falcons, grey hawks, thrice ringed pheasants, sunny quails, streak-throated hermits, whistling magpies, common crows, ravens, tree swallows, Balar herons, southern geese, and harpy ducks are all sights for the discerning birder to find in the forested and watery places of the range.
The mountain-fed streams are home to red salmon, river eel, Balar carp, and a handful of bream and trout species. The Deep Beneath is closer to the surface below the Range, preventing deeper bodies of water from forming.
Gryphons, hippogriffs, perytons, and rocs often fly down from the Tels to hunt the oversized game on the Range. Several varieties of trolls, as well as ettins, ogres, and cyclopes are scattered across the plains. As far as history knows, they are the native peoples of the Range. Early meetings between giantkin and the homesteaders were tense, but ultimately successful enough for current conditions to develop. Bulettes are a rare but devestating threat to farmland.

The Giants of Balarkavi

Everything grows larger on the Range, or so the saying goes. While the exact locations of the domains belonging to the powers of the Throne of a Thousand Judgements are unknown, the commonly-held theory is that they clustered around the northern stretches of {CONTINENT}. The origin points of yetis, jötunn, behirborn, and goliaths are found in regions through here, and proper giants are more common in this region than anywhere else in the world. Indeed, there are no true giants anywhere near the Mythic Hinterlands. However, a less-popular theory on the giant lands is that they are scattered throughout the world. They point to the hill giant communities across {STEPPE}, the storm giants of {ISLAND CHAIN}, the Titansgrave mountains cloud giants, and the giantkin that are found everywhere. This school of thought focuses the Range specifically, not just for the trolls and ettins common to the plains, but the sheer size of things that grow. According to these theorists, Balar elk aren't the size of mammoths and pumpkins don't swell to three feet across because of the land's natural nutrients, but because of giant magic suffusing the earth itself.
Location under
Associated Cultures
Folks living on the Range use the Balar statistics.

The Range Traveller

The Balarkavi Range is a stunning expanse full of some of the most worthwhile produce in the world. Annual festivals and celebrations for the beginning and end of the growing season, each seasonal harvest, canning, drying, and preserving eligible crops, and dozens of feasts throughout the year draw visitors from as far away as {PLACE}. The journey comes highly recommended, and the Balar people are well-prepared to handle the influx of visitors. Fields left fallow for replenishment are converted to tent cities during each festival, with the locals able to provide accommodations for any who lack their own. Since there are no urban centers or centralized authorities, regional guides, camp along {HIGHWAY} to take foreigners to whichever freeholds are directing the festivities that year.

Balar freeholds are small communities comprising a collection of farms and the artisans to support them. They are spread across the entire Range and connected by dirt roads in varying degrees of upkeep. Because the Balar people rely on travelling merchants to circulate their produce within their own community, the traveller will meet sellers of nearly infinite goods along their way.

Each freehold is under the charge of the individual, family, or group that farms the most acreage. Those freeholders treat individually with the Web of Faith for trade and protections, honoring a centuries-old relationship that gained the freeholders their independence. As a result, the Range traveller should familiarize themself with the customs and expectations of the freehold offering them hospitality in addition to Mythalenairran law. The Balar are the descendants of the homesteaders from {NATION} who refused to be ruled by a distant monarch, and those freedoms are a pride they will defend to the death. They are an open and boisterous people proud of what they grow and almost always willing to share their bounty, and woe be unto the vistor who steals, or disrespects that generosity.

The land itself is easy enough for the average traveller, but it is not advised to roam the Range during the winter months. The open plains offer sparse protection against biting winds and wicked snows. If the unfortunate traveller finds themself in the Range (or almost anywhere in the Mythic Hinterlands) during the winter, it is recommended to find a host family to board with until the spring.

Cover image: by Athevra via Adobe Spark


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