Beginning and End
Mountains rising in the east provide the water for the Ravmor. The cold temperatures in the river result from most water coming from the snowcaps and glaciers. In summer, the rapid melting of these sources causing raging rapids in the early sections of the river and seasonal flooding of the banks. The Ravmor runs its course through the Aristosa Forest where its bed cuts deep into the land. It ends in a delta at the western edge of the forest where the current slows before joining the Tirsan Ocean.
The Aristosa Forest
Winding through the Aristosa Forest, the Ravmor River acts as both border and separator of two hostile countries, Firth to the east and Mercia to the west. Dense evergreens and the occasional leafy tree line the river banks. Both countries have outposts which are largely cut off from major services, but hold on to their hostility for the other side, and are openly aggressive with one another.
Travel & Crossing
Bridges have always been a rare sight along The Ravmor. Between the river dragons’ destructive natures, and the animosity between the Firthan Kingdom and the Mercian Empire, they’ve never been a viable option for crossing the raging waters. Boats and rafts are more commonly used when one side wishes to raid the other, but there is always the risk of capsizing into the icy waters, drifting too far downstream, or being attacked by the river dragons. The safest option is the much less permanent use of ropes which are strung between two sturdy trees as a zip line.
The surrounding area is a temperate seasonal forest with long, harsh winters. The soil is acidic and lacks nutrients because of the evergreen trees, limiting the underbrush variety. Mostly hardy ferns and shade-loving plants grow here. The river banks are also home to carnivorous plants that use bugs, lizards, and small mammals to supplement the poor nutritional value of the soil.
Solveil flowers are an interesting plant found only in one location along the length of the Ravmor. They convert magical energy in the area into sunlight. This feature allows them to create their own pocket ecosystem. While the seasons shift, this small area stays tropical, influencing the growth of freshwater corals around the land. Schools of fish that can survive nowhere else along the river make this their home as well. Local species that drift from the icy waters can suffocate in the lower oxygen environment of the warm waters.
Fast flowing currents lurk beneath the Ravmor’s surface. These deep currents will pull a person easily under and down the river, never to be seen again. There is a technique to getting across without a boat or vessel where people will start upriver and float on the surface, paddling with their hands but never dipping beyond the first three feet of water. Water currents aren’t the only danger. Hypothermia can set in quickly as the waters are frigid and sap the heat and energy from those who may be unlucky enough to need to enter the water.
Lucien’s First Impression
To the bottom
They forget the teachings of their ancestors. Those bastards will be the death of us all.
They would watch us die slowly and painfully before allowing us to take from the forest.
While the Delta is safe from the terrors of the river dragons and the raging currents up river, it holds its own dangers to be wary of. The tides of the Tirsan Ocean submerge low laying sandy islands, and can wash an explorer out to sea. Much of the land is sandy, but the small patches of grassy earth are dotted with thorny trees that can filter the brackish water to get what nutrients they need from it. The salt concentrates in small green buds that turn yellow and fall off when they are over-saturated.
Clusters of brightly coloured flowers grow here too, with leaves that are sharp and solid. Ancient civilizations used these as knives for food preparation. Less deadly are the moss balls that cluster in the shallow waters and anchor themselves deeply into the sandbars. Schools of small fish seek shelter amongst the sea grasses, but larger predatory fish will also use these shallow areas as nurseries for their young as well.
A key species found along the entire length of the Ravmor, including the brackish waters of the Ravmor Delta. This fish is meaty and a staple in the diet of surrounding settlements. It feeds on smaller varieties of fish and is a source of food for the river dragons.
Recognised as a key species for the river’s health on both sides of the border, they are not commercially fished. Whiskered Muslids are a distinct shade of pink and selling them in market stalls is punishable by steep fines and imprisonment in both the Kingdom of Firth and the Mercian Empire.
Found in no other place in the world, like many species around the Solveil Islands, the Rainbow Mindras are the largest and most colourful fish in the river coral systems. They are named after Mindralis, God of the Sun, and fishing them is strictly forbidden. To kill a Rainbow Mindras is punishable by death and seen as a great act of heresy.
They eat plankton and small crustaceans, and are eaten by nothing else in their habitat. A dead Rainbow Mindras floating down the river is seen as a portent of doom.
The river corals that grow around the Solveil Islands are unique as residence of fresh water and each one is named for a god or goddess. Harvesting the corals is strictly forbidden, but some risk the steep penalties to use them in folk medicines.
A plague is sweeping through the remote villages of the Mercian Empire. The Emperor has granted emergency permission to send expeditionary forces to the Solveil Islands to harvest the glowing solveil flowers.
The Firthan Queen declares open war on them for this attempt to harvest the flowers. Time and again the Firthan Druids repel the small groups of Mercian adventurers who sought to use the flowers to heal their sick.
It is during this upheaval that two heros appeared, each on an opposing side of the river. Lucien lands on the Mercian side and is determined to save as many as he can by using the solveil flowers to stop the plague. Zephyr is sent to the Firthan side and is horrified to learn their legends of a world ending calamity if the flowers are disturbed.
Further down the river, numerous rainbow mindras have washed up on the delta’s banks. Each side blames the other for this disturbance and all are fearful of what this could mean for their world.
Let life bloom bright and warm, by magic light to hold death’s might. Lest shadows swarm as signs of doom.