River of Cradles
The River of Cradles
The River of Cradles lies in a great fertile valley that runs from its source in the Desolation Hills south to the Rozgali Sea, dividing Prax from the Vulture Country. The river got its name centuries ago from the epic journey made by great cradles bearing the children of giants that floated to the sea from a mysterious source in the Desolation Hills.
The natives call the river Zola Fel after its resident deity. Unlike the arid plains, the river valley is comparatively fertile, and its grazing lands are much sought after by the nomads. However, the valley is presently dominated by civilized farmers, and the nomads are no longer welcome in their ancient tribal grazing ranges.
The northern end of the valley is controlled by the city of Pavis, a Sartarite colony founded in 1550 S.T. near the ancient walls of Old Pavis (also known as the Big Rubble), now a ruin haunted by trolls. Pavis (or Old Pavis) was a much larger magical city that once lay claim to being one of the great wonders of the world.
New Pavis fell to the Lunars in 1610 S.T. The Lunar governor, Sor-Eel the Short, rules over Pavis and Prax, and by terms of the Armistice is the nominal overlord of Sun County to the south. New Pavis is a small city of approximately 4000 people; not including the sizable Lunar garrison.
The city of Pavis is the administrative centre of Pavis County containing many farming steads and small towns. Most of the 20,000 people of Pavis County are farmers of Sartarite stock.
The authoritarian agricultural theocracy of Sun County has endured uninterrupted in the Zola Fel valley for centuries. This dour, puritanical, but vitally cohesive society is founded upon its state worship of Yelmalio and its farmer-soldier citizenry.
The Yelmalio cult, its nobility and its priesthood control all political, social, and economic aspects of society. Its redoubtable standing army, the famed Sun Dome Templars, and its well-trained, conscripted citizen militia protect Sun County from internal disorders and external nomad raiders… and from any interference by distrusted outlanders and foreigners.
Outlanders are treated with contempt and distrust by Sun Dome citizens, and foreigners must
expect harassment from the minor officials and militia units that act as the county’s police force.
Civilized observers find the interlocking strictures of cult and state bewildering, harsh, and often barbaric, and enforcement of these strictures often seems arbitrary and capricious.
To the south of Sun County, Lunar settlers are colonizing the previously unsettled southern reaches of the river valley. Under Duke Raus of Rone, a Lunar nobleman exiled from the Heartlands for political reasons, a region known as the Weis Domain has been settled by colonists and a fort and town built on the Zola Fel known variously as Raus Fort or Ronegarth.
As directed by the Red Emperor,Governor Sor-Eel is surveying the valley south and north of Weis Domain for division into parcels and placed under the lordship of loyal servants of the empire. Currently the boundaries of two more land grants are under review by the Governor; soon new overlords from the Empire may arrive to take control of these grants.
This island settlement and seaport on a deep-water channel of the Zola Fel is jointly owned and administered by the Corflu Trade Alliance, a business chartered and supported by the Lunar administration in Pavis, and the Ingilli clan, the kinsmen of the explorer-adventurer who helped found the settlement of Corflu.
Employees of the Trade Alliance, their dependents, and the Lunar garrison comprise a civilized population of about 200. Depending on the season, another 300-600 riverfolk live on the island or nearby, along with a small population of newtlings and other aquatic sentients. A modest but growing sea trade funnels through Corflu, where goods must be off-loaded from ocean-going vessels and carried upstream to Pavis and points north and west by shallow draft riverboats.