SMOG
NEARSIGHT

Issvatn river

This article is a work in progress
Issvatn (Ice water) is one of the largest rivers within the Okse Dominion. With its blue green hue, it flows from a grand lake nestled within the Halvmane Mountains, through Valenheim, under Mestrvirki, past Fjallgrind Fortress, all the way south to Vagrvik and then out to sea.   Thick stone bridges Intersect the river at multiple occasions to allow crossing overland, as such, a rowboat or boat with collapsible mast is required to traverse the Issvatn river. Though some of these bridges have large arches, a boat with its mast raised would not fit underneath them and would have no chance with the lower bridges.  

Geography

The Issvatn river is rather consistent in width and thus often allows for multiple small river barges or rafts to flank either side of the river and still allow two to three larger vessels like a cog, knarr or longship to traverse the centre-line with ease.

    Lake Kyrrmane

    This frigid lake sits at the heart of the Halvmane basin and is fed by two glacial rivers from the north west and north east. This lake often freezes during the colder seasons but the water continues to flow out into the Issvatn river from below the ice.   Lake Kyrrmane is home to many species of flora like the Tungl syrin, fish and other aquatic creatures.  

    Hot springs

    Along the base of the Halvmane Mountains, clusters of hot springs can be found at a few points not far from the river amongst the hills and boreal forests. One such location of hot springs is along the south-western bank of Lake Kyrrmane and is named Foryngende Laug. Popularised by the additional services the staff provide, such as scented oils, massages, alcohol and food.   Cabins are provided around Foryngende Laug for those looking to have an extended stay, enjoy the hot springs and services provided for a while longer.   A few of the local wild animals have been seen basking in the warmth of the hot pools, relaxing for a while before continuing about their day.  

    Issvatn Rapids

    A series of whitewater rapids cut through the landscape forming rocky green cliffs, dangerous overhangs and tight turns against the eastern mountain bases. These rapids serve as both a waning sign and a distance marker for the upcoming waterfall.   Many unsuspecting wanderers, careless adults and children have fallen victim to the rapids' violent waters. Often only discovered after the body reaches the pool beneath the upcoming waterfall, locals have begun to add simple fencing near areas of strong rapids.  

    Waterfall

    North of Hofn Fagrvatn, rocky waters lead up to a grand plunge waterfall that overhangs a large alcove.
    The waterfall is flanked by slopped cliffs that meander their way down to the river's surface. These sloping cliffs allow for paths and roads to be built alongside the river and permit the transportation of goods by land to areas north of the capital - Valenheim.   This large waterfall separates the two levels of Issvatn and prevents sailing past Valenheim to Lake Kyrrmane, preventing access via water to Rauthrbak Min in the Halvmane mountains.  

    Fjallgrind Fortress

    Situated along the river, north of Vagrvik, Fjallgrind Fortress is embedded along the eastern bank and has a small secondary fort on the western bank. The fort and fortress allow for a large spiked chain to span the width of the river cutting off access for vessels in the event of an attack or to stop unpermitted vessels.
    In addition to the large chain, three catapults are staged to hurl oil pots and a small two-man ballista with standard bolts or optional fire-basket bolts could be used.   Both structures are wrapped in a wet moat that has been pierced by large vertical logs to prevent boats from sailing through whilst still allowing the water to flow unimpeded.
ISSVATN_highlight.png
Type
River
Ports
Hofn Brattrstein,
Hofn Fagrvatn,
Hofn Heillfranvagr,
Accessible by river
Valenheim,
Vagrvik
River defences
Mestrvirki,
Fjallgrind Fortress
Among the Halvmane Mountains, there resides
A dominion of high regard
Beside a river, both vast and wide
Whose name, Okse, shall not be tarred.   The Issvatn flows from mountain base
Relentless from the north
With winding waters one could face
And cold rapids push forth   Though if one’s angst is met with pride
And perseverance holds
They’ll find the ice water subside
Where calmer breadth unfolds   In The Dominion, duality
Mirrors river and folk
Sometimes a battle to pull free
Of nightmares... before they woke
— Unknown
All artwork that is not an original creation by myself (@Bladeswillfall) will be replaced in time with either original pieces or commissioned art.

Ecosystem

The Issvatn river supports the life of many people, fauna and flora. The icy fresh water was a strong driver for the founding of Valenheim and it's surrounding provinces. As well as providing a way to easily transport goods between settlements.

    The water

    The river itself is relatively deep with a stone and pebble base. Scattered across the bed at the shallower points, grassess and plants provide shelter for its inhabitants.

      Pike

      A large, carnivorous and sometimes cannibalistic, species of fish native to brackish and fresh waters. Pike are identifiable by their long bodies, olive-grey colouration with light, short bar-like spots and Iridescent lustre.

      Elvormr

      Long, snake-like aquatic creatures, Elvormr (river snake), are fished for their sweet meat.
      Elvormr are also used as bait to catch some of the larger creatures out at sea so they serve a dual purpose - food and bait for bigger food.

    North of Valenheim

    The terrain north of Valenheim is rather hostile in comparison to the lands south of Mestrvirki. The terrain here is much more rocky and open, with trees coming in clusters and patches along the bases of the Halvmane mountains and hugging the river. Between these patches, large plains of moss and wild grass are speckled with sharp stones and sheer cliffs.

      Tungl syrin

      Tungl syrin (lunar lilac) can be found along the rocky river banks and around Lake Kyrrmane, this flower grows underwater and then flowers above the surface. Usually flowering in bunches from four to six buds to a single plant.
      This species of flower has five wide petals that come to a thin point and has a pale-violet to almost white-blue colouration.
      This plant is coveted for its tap root which has a very warming flavour and is used as a spice.

      Sigdfugl

      The Sigdfugl or sickle bird, is a species of falcon that predominantly eats fish and small rodents. Though the Sigdfugl are a more common sight in the north, they do make their way south too and as such can also be found south of Valenheim.
      It has an almost all-white colouration save for the gradient bronze wingtips and subtle bronze chevrons found on the feathers on the back/top side of the wings. The Sigdfugl also has two long, thin, tails that line the outer edges of the central tail feathers, ending in a singular feathered fin - one for each long tail.

    South of Valenheim

    The terrain south of Valenheim is much smoother than what can be found within the Halvmane basin. As such, plains of wild grass, boreal forests, rolling hills and fields make up most of the area along the river's edges.

      Otters

      Otters can be found almost all along the river south of Valenheim, tending to keep away from populated areas. Hunting fish and eels in the river and resting or eating along the banks.

      Svarturthyrni bushes

      Svarturthyrni (Blackthorn) Bushes of frosty blue-black berries hug the river at frequent intervals. The bush itself is rife with long thin thorns and a mix of wide coniferous leaves. Though the berries can be eaten straight from the plant, they're best when cooked.

Culture

Thanks to its many features, the Issvatn river holds a strong place in the culture of the Oksmun that live in close proximity to the river. As such, all Oksmun that live in proximity to the river are taught to swim and cope in the frigid waters from a young age. Additionally, rowing and raft making are widely taught to encourage excersize and survival skills for the future.
A few more examples of its embedding in culture are:

    Cliff diving

    During the adolescence of many an Oksmun, jumping from the cliffs around the waterfall north of Valenheim into the pool below has become an unofficial test of courage.
    This has lead to many injuries and deaths over the years. However, the test still lives on and stories of failed jumps have only encouraged thrill-seekers and those looking to prove themselves to jump from higher points or into more risky areas of the pool.   This unofficial proof of courage has in some cases been used to promote individuals and the adolescents are often encouraged to jump, tutored on where to jump from, and how to land safely in the water by older Oksmun.

    Bathing and recovery

    Thanks to the nearby hot springs, the Oksmun of Valenheim have developed a taste for warm baths and relaxation. The soothing and rejuvenating properties of the hot springs ofcourse opposing the ruthlessness and fortitude the Okse Dominion is known for breeding.   A few of these hot springs have been reserved for their medicinal properties by healers and serve as part of the recovery process for injured soldiers and people with power.

Comments

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24 May, 2022 23:25

The cliff-diving reminded me of my hometown; we had a similar rite-of-passage type thing diving into the river as teenagers. I love all the little details here that really flesh it out!

26 May, 2022 08:01

That's awesome! I'm glad you could relate to the content. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

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Master Dazzlinkat
K.S. Bishoff
25 May, 2022 11:43

I like this. And your lay out is engaging to the eye

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26 May, 2022 08:01

Thank you so much!

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Sage George Sanders
George Sanders
26 May, 2022 02:33

Nice collection of ecology and geology in your article! Plus hot springs, send the tourism flyer :)

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26 May, 2022 08:02

Thank you! Sound like a nice place to live, right? haha. My plan is working :D

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26 May, 2022 09:57

Nice article! The layout makes it easy to read through and looks great. It has some interesting details such as the various animals in the river.

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28 May, 2022 13:07

Thank you! Really glad to have such positive feedback. What did you think of the short poem?

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26 May, 2022 15:05

A really good article to read and I enjoyed the content. Good information on the river and it's wildlife and flora. I like the fortress description also. A well deserved Like/Fave from me.   Aemon

28 May, 2022 13:07

Thank you so much, some really positive feedback. What did you think of the short poem? Any critiques?

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28 May, 2022 22:57

It's a good little poem, a nice touch, it adds something extra, a bard/minstrel must have written it while watching the river flow by, did you write it yourself?   Stories, songs, and poems always seem to have a ring of truth about them, from how they are described or historical references and so forth. I like that and i liked your poem.   Aemon

5 Jul, 2022 14:39

So sorry, thought i'd replied to this previously! I did yeah, it was my first go at writing something like it so i'm quite happy with how it came out.   Thank you so much for the praise :)

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29 May, 2022 00:52

The detail in this article is awesome. I love how much you put into it and enjoyed the poem. It sounds like a beautiful river with so much cultural importance. Great work!

Lilliana Casper   I don't comment much, but I love reading your articles! Please check out my worlds, Jerde and Tread of Darkness.
10 Jun, 2022 08:06

Thank you so much! Apologies for taking so long to reply. I'm really glad you enjoyed the poem - It's my first attempt at doing something like that.

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