Vista is the biggest river in the Kingdom of Piast and serves as its main trade route. Both the country's capital of Eagle's Nest and the main trade port of Morskograd are located on the banks of Vista. Barges going down the river are very common sight. Back up the river they are towed by men or small river boats.
Let's go, men! We need to tow that barge to Eagle's Nest before the end of the week!
Vista runs from south towards the north. It starts in the Great Mountains in the north and flows into the sea in the north. It becomes navigable about half way to the sea, when its first tributary joins in about 100 km before Eagle's Nest.
The Vista River freezes over every year in early winter and stays frozen to the early or mid spring. The layer of ice is about 30 cm thick. At the mouth, where river flows into the sea and mixes with salt water, the ice is thinner. During the winter months, the barges used by merchants are replaced with sleds. In those months, the city of Morskograd also builds an additional "harbour" further from the city. The regular barge harbour is close to the sea and the salt water doesn't allow the water to freeze.
Though Vista is navigable for some time south of Eagle's Nest, not many people travel there by river or close to it. There are stories of water monsters living in that area and consuming travellers. People are saying of massive fish-lizard hybrids rising from the river and laying waste to its surroundings. As the result, area around that part of the river is lifeless for many kilometers. Trees are just dry trunk, grass died long ago leaving the sun-dried soil exposed.
No one really knows why the monsters have never travelled north and devoured Eagle's Nest. The most probable explanation is the existance of some sort of a magical barrier exisiting in the water that stops them. However, no one was able to find that barrier and only one written source mentions its creation.
No, Mieszko! You're not going south! It's too dangerous to look for the barrier!
Fauna & Flora
Most of the flora is located on the west bank of the river. The east bank has been heavily modified by humans and has a towpath along the whole length of the river between Eagle's Nest and Morskograd.
Vista's abundance of fish is exploited by people living on its both banks. Next to the barges going up and down the river, one can see smaller fishing boats as well as people fishing from the shores. The fish are sold in Eagle's Nest, Morskograd and other cities, towns and villages of the kingdom. The local zander is particularly enjoyed by people.
The barges are wooden flat-bottomed vessels that travel downstream by itself, but need to be towed upstream. The wealthier merchants have tugboats that pull the barges both ways. However, the majority of merchants has to hire a team of puller when their barge is returning to Eagle's Nest. In the past, those pullers were just villagers and poor inhabitants of Morskgrad. As time passed, it became a more regulated profession. There are teams of pullers, each with an overseer, and the men are paid well for their work.