River of the Defiled
Treat the River with respect, and it will consider giving it back to you.
Content warning: picture of a snake below
The River of the Defiled is a "river" that runs through the entirety of the Thenian state of Kezig. In addition to being sacred to the Ravkan religion, it is typically also an important part of national and cultural identities. The River's name is derived from the Ravkan pantheon, the Defiled, and it's said that the Defiled look favorably on those that honor the River. Although it's a saltwater river, it still supports a wide variety of unique flora and fauna. Because of its religious importance, rare flora and fauna, and overall importance to those that live on its banks, the River of the Defiled is a large tourist draw.
Kazza had lived in Skruj Drae almost his whole life, and he was still a mixture of frightened and respectful of the long river that snaked its way through Kezig. It was definitely sacred to him as a Ravkan, but it was more than that: it was also equal parts imposing and secretive, and he was always on guard when he was on the River. His father had told him once that the flora and fauna he saw on the River were truly blessed beings (as they had been returned to nature as part of the sacred River), but Kazza had always secretly hoped his afterlife took him elsewhere.
The River of the Defiled meanders through the entirety of Kezig, Votha. Because of this, Kezens consider the river to be an important part of their national and cultural identities. Because most Kezens are Ravkan, the River is important to both of those identities. The River also runs directly through Kezig's capital of Skruj Drae and makes up the Kezen Canals. Although the term 'river' is perhaps a misnomer (truly, it's the Sea that has bisected Kezig), it would be unwise for other Thenians to tell a Kezen or Ravkan this.
The River of the Defiled is a mysterious river. It is said that nothing acts quite as it should Thick fog hangs low over most of the River, and the temperature, no matter the season, is always bone-chillingly cold. In some parts of the River the water flows so fast that gigantic whirlpools form that are able to swallow entire boats. (There are some parts of the River that tourist boats are forbidden to traverse for exactly this reason.) Large thunderstorms also develop along the River and its banks; the wind from these storms can cause the river to become violent and unpredictable. Luckily, these storms don't largely affect the Kezen Canals, but they're not unheard of. Although it's considered a sacred river to Ravkans and , all Thenians are wary of it; for even though it's said to have the Defiled's blessing, the number of casualities from ignoring warnings about its weather, flora, and fauna may point to otherwise. An often-repeated saying is "treat the River with respect, and it will consider giving it back to you."
Fauna & Flora
There are a few species of animals and plants that only exist in the River of the Defiled. The flora and fauna are also big reasons why people visit the River. In some cases, There are a few unique plants that grow on the banks of the River or on the River itself: Vervaine, Marshstars, Fangstrife, and the Salixna. There are many different animal species unique to the river, but a few that people look for are: Basilisks, Krakens, Grindylows, Kelpies , Nguruvilus, Rusalka, and Afancs.
POSTED WARNINGThe River of the Defiled is sacred; do not disturb the flora or fauna of this area! Breaking this law will result in a fine. FURTHER, be warned of the many animals that make this river and its banks home: if you're bitten by a Grindylow, seek help immediately; if you're bitten by a Basilisk, please pray to your gods. Please enjoy our beautiful River!
There are very few natural resources the River can provide; some of the flora is gathered and sold as herbs or decorative flowers, but that's about it, as the saltwater makes it impossible to drink.
There is a history of humans living on the river since at least the 800s, as evidence of settlements has dated back to that time. In 1767, when Ravka was officially founded, the mythological stories of the river were already famous. It is said that when the Creator made the world, he split Kezig in two to represent the dualism of creation and destruction and to remind Ravkans of that. It's also said that although the Creator did, indeed, make the river freshwater to begin with (to provide drinking water), the Creator and the Corrupted had an epic battle; when the Corrupted was defeated, this corruption besmirched the freshwater and made it saltwater.
Ravkan tourists from all over Thenia flock to visit the river; in addition, even those that aren't Ravkans come to witness the river and the architectural wonders that are the Bridges of the Defiled. For obvious reasons, there is no way to Ravkans, especially, relish the opportunity to visit the River of the Defiled, as it's important to Ravkans to be able to visit, witness its wonders, and participate in the religious activities that accompany visiting the River. Many Kezens visit the river often, while Ravkans that do not live in Kezig usually try to visit at least once a year. Because of the large tourist draw of the River, locations near one of the Bridges of the Defiled, especially, are often inns, restaurants, and Ravkan shrines/temples.
Marina's River RitualsIt's that time of year: Hexenight! For an all-inclusive price, join us for a night of traversing our beautiful River! An Excori will accompany us as we pay deference to the Defiled on this sacred night. Although we can't guarantee it, we're almost certain to see a Kelpie galloping the banks or the cresting of a fierce Afanc. Book by the 13th, and receive a bundle of Fangstrife for your home's protection!
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