Kalder: More Key Locations of East Kalder

William T. Thrasher

There is more to explore in the risen lands of East Kalder. While our last look at key locations focused on settlements and cities, we now turn our eyes to largely unexplored wilderness regions of this new land.

Brinewater – Once a deep valley in the days before East Kalder sank below the waves, since the rising this region has become a vast inland sea. Innumerable creatures from the deep ocean, from bait fish to at least one leviathan, were trapped within the Brinewater during the rising. The region now serves as the closest thing East Kalder has to a functioning, conventional ecosystem.

The shores of the Brinewater are dotted with fishing villages and ramshackle port towns that serve as springboards for exploration and trade through the inland sea. Divers seek pearls in shallows and lagoons. Whalers hunt pods of narwhals, odobenocetops, and  gunwhales. A new breed of farmer harvests kelp and brineweed. Like the open ocean, the Brinewater also plays host to pirates and privateers.

The Brinewater’s most unusual and potentially valuable feature are its extensive elf ruins. These ruins, often glimpsed just below the surface in shallow waters, hint at a massive city that once dominated the pre-cataclysm valley.

Halite Flats – Once a small inland sea that could have been another Brinewater, heat and time boiled away the seawater leaving behind a desert of rock salt. The Halite Flats are lifeless and seemingly endless. The days are scorching, the nights deathly cold, and the air bitter with the aftertaste of dissolved minerals.

The Halite Flats are an endless white the occasional discolored patch indicated the presence of dissolved minerals useful to alchemists and apothecaries. The only liquid in the region are rare pools of thick, chemical-laden brine. The bodies of sea creatures are often found just below the surface of the Flats, leeched of all moisture and preserved as a dehydrated fossil.

Nothing grows in the Halite Flats beyond the odd mineral formation. If anything could live in such a place, it would be truly alien in form and purpose. In addition to a lack of water and extreme temperatures, winds kick up salt storm that sweep the region and bring with them inescapable surges of lightning. The bodies of prospectors and explorers litter the Halite Flats, their remains mummified in seconds by the extreme conditions of the environment.

Reefwood – The region known as the Reefwood was one of the few features of East Kalder known to man and elf long before the rising. In the previous age it was known as The Razors, a miles-long reef that played havoc with ships risking a voyage over the eastern sea. It was the Order of Navigators, exploiting the talents of bonded elf seers to map the Razors and time its strange tides, that gave Dufay mastery of the eastern sea and a reach that encompassed the world.

Now risen above the sea, the Reefwood is a strange forest grown from coral instead of wood. Brightly colored growths of branching coral jut into the sky like explosions of bone frozen in time while the bulbous remains of round corals dot the space between like tumorous growths. The remains of sea creatures, unpicked by scavengers, hang from calcified branches. To walk the paths of the Reefwood gives one the impression of treading through a dead world. However, the Reefwood is very much alive.

When East Kalder first rose from the sea the expertise of the Order of Navigators gave Dufay a decided edge in cutting through the Reefwood to explore and exploit resources found beyond. However, their charts quickly became inaccurate, and all attempts to map the Reefwood since have proved futile. When a strong storm blows in from the sea the ancient corals of the Reefwood continue to grow, opening up new trails while closing others. But corals are not all that lives.

Scattered throughout the Reefwood are deep pools of stagnant sea water. Within their depths strange things from the lightless sea floor wait, emerging on spindly armored legs and slithering bellies on starless nights to hunt, mate, and refill their murky lairs with the salt and blood of unfortunate explorers.

For those who can brave the terrors of the Reefwood, there are many rewards to be had. Coraljacks have learned to quarry massive corals as a woodsman chops down trees, harvesting materials possessing the noble properties of both wood and stone. Prospectors dig through scree and sift through silt to find ancient deepwater pearls valuable for their beauty and alchemical properties. Finally, the Razors ended the voyages of countless vessels, and their corroded hulks litter the Reefwood waiting to be picked over by salvagers.