Map of the Edniktar and Mountain basins

The Edniktar and Mountain Basins

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These small basins have a combined area less than the neighboring Fmak basin, but a larger population. Unlike the Fmak basin, all of these but the far southern end of Aurailia are fertile. Passar and Plecerveet are the highest big cities on the planet. Passar is as high as Kex, two miles above sea level. Plecerveet as high as Dlondai, one mile above sea level. Aurail and Kln as high as Nevorkensville, at sea level.

All the Mountain Basins are in an equatorial highland climate zone with hot sunny Afternoondays and cold snowy Dawnsleeps. Kln can get precipitation at other times of the week. Aurail may go two or even three weeks without precipitation. Precipitation is dependable weekly in the other three basins, falling almost always as snow.

Edniktar lies in a different climate zone two miles lower. It never gets frost, and is a little more likely to get rain during Dawnsleep than any other time of the week. Edniktar differs from the Mountain Basins on more than just climate; culture, age, race are all divided along those lines.

In spite of those differences, geologically this is all one basin. It exhibits some of the folding common to equatorial highlands, but also exhibits folding on a much larger scale. Chunks of crust the size of these small basins lie upside down on top of others. Their remains are what divides the area into multiple basins.

In this basin, as in Bordzvek, substantial vegetation extends well above the 13,700 foot mark and there are settlements in the Passar basin up to 16,000 feet. Residents of that area claim they are able to caravan materials across the Hyerpazza to the Vesh basin.


History

Thru most of history, the driving force in this basin has been the onion. The Mountain Basins are the wellspring of Nordic glory, the lands that were almost mythic to other Nordics of the planet, but there could never be permanent settlements in those mountains until there was someone in the Edniktar Basin to grow, dry and trade onions to the kingdoms in the mountains. That trade was already steeped in tradition before the Energy Age, before writing was used in these regions. Archeological evidence of it goes back to at least 15,000bc.

It is believed that the original settlers of the Edniktar deep were Nordic. Nordics are associated with higher ground today, but before trade caravans, Nordics had to live in a frost free area. As trade became possible, the Nordics that settled the Mountain Basins came up the rivers from Edniktar. It is likely that Fmak influence entered the Edniktar area during the Troubled Times, and has homogenized into the population to create the current fair skinned, dark haired ethnic type.

Each of the Mountain Basins jealously guarded its trade route to Edniktar's onions. Those routes changed with the waxing and waning of the fortunes of different kings in the Mountain Basins. The seats of power shifted from castle to castle, with the Plecerveet basin often home to five to seven islands of sovereignty, always at least three.

In the Edniktar basin, there seemed to have been several waves of invasion by the Fmak. It isn't clear that there was government in the Edniktar Basin even before the Instinct, and there are only spotty written records before modern times. The land has always provided well and there never was much in the way of civilization in ancient times. There were some trading posts and some strong men now and then, here and there, but for most people the prehistoric way of life gradually evolved into the modern way of life without going thru a stage of states and kings.

In the Mountain Basins there were other causes of strife besides onions, and there was intrigue and action before and after the Energy Age. Few energy weapons were left here so the wars were not as horrifying to the general population, though many believed in the magical powers of gemstones and dangerous beasts. It was a dangerous game knights played, all for the hand of a fair maiden. Most find even the plain maidens of this area to be more than acceptable and have no reason to fight over them. Few of the common folk were conscripted into warfare.

Only Passar survives from that time and it was a big market town at the time where those of noble blood seldom ventured. The old parts of the city are those built of dark, rough stone with alleys too narrow to get a cart thru. The soaring hangleaf towers above them today were not there at the time.

Whatever foreign invasions Edniktar suffered, it had absorbed them by late in the Troubled Times. Two of the administrative centers the Fmak had established were on opposite ends of what was called the Pirate's Bayous at the time. By the time the last wave of the Fmak Empire was gone, most of the dry ground in that area was urban, and that city has been growing larger ever since, forming the present day city of Edniktar. It was not considered one city and named as such until modern times.

As the Troubled Times gave way to the modern age, the Mountain Basins adapted easily. The nobles gave up jousting and other forms of battle and took up agricultural management. The market towns slowly grew to large cities. Today Kln, Plecerveet and Edniktar show up on the list of largest cities in the world.

Edniktar was the first city in human space to build a mechanized urban transportation system. It used wooden rails and wheels, ropes and pulleys and enormous steam bellows the size of rooms to drive it. It connected the length of the waterfront along the Embaiga over what are called the old docks today. That began operation in 1251ad. It remained in use and was continually improved and expanded until it was replaced by a tube system in the 3180's. A two mile stretch of it is still in operation as a tourist attraction. Viewing the whimsical engine is more interesting than riding on it.


Edniktar

To those of the Yakhan, the name 'Edniktar' is used as a synonym for the most distant and exotic land on the planet. It is distant, but it is not really that exotic. In many ways it is the most typical basin of the planet. It is ancient, but has little history of war. It is slow paced and leisurely. The air is thick and humid and the weekly and yearly temperature variations are comparable and relatively mild. Most transport is by water. The material standard of living is only slightly below the planet's average and the distribution of wealth slightly more egalitarian than average.

The people seem to be a mixture of Nordic and Fmak. They usually have long and shiny black hair and fairly light skin. The women wear skirts and an open shirt during the dark, covering the breasts is almost taboo. Men wear clouts and open shirts during the dark. Men are more likely than women to wear a harness and shouder pockets. Women are more likely to carry a bag. Cloth is silky or crepe and very colorful.

Turiles and other smaller relatives of the myurialah abound in this basin. Hunting them has it's own mystique, hunting them from the backs of dactyls is common in the media, but it's all animation. If you try to pursue them you will be on foot or in a kayak. There will be new terms and customs to learn. For the uninitiated to bring down one of these great birds is considered very bad form, don't do it if you want to engage in further interaction with the natives.

The wilds of the lowlands are not as dangerous as the swamps of Trenst, but droppers are still common, and a smaller relative of the spheelunge, the argrap, is common, and large enough to be dangerous. Most of the lowlands are quite populated however and there are no extensive wilderness areas in that section of the basin.

Most of the land in the western two thirds of the basin is a vast dry hinterland with settlement only along the rivers. The remainder is prairie or savannah and home to an abundance of theirops and their relatives. People stay along the rivers and those on the fence line might keep a crossbow ready. Take the usual precautions in the wilds of this area, don't go unarmed, don't go without a guide.

Almost three hundred million of the basin's population lives in the humid lowland climate near the Tuidain. Winter Afternoondays get into the 80's(F), Summer into the 90's. Winter Dawnsleeps might dip below 60, summer might dip below 70. Rain can fall at any time of the week, it's more likely in the dark. Rain falls nearly every week, sometimes more than once, sometimes all week long.

About half the farmland in this basin is swampy. They grow tell, lesh and chuss as well as lon. People tend to live in temporary houses (less than 500 years old) because the islands are constantly shifting under the actions of the tides and currents. In spite of that people live relatively comfortably with better plumbing than the Fmak basin, good food and abundant yaag. They work the fields or paddies one day a week, the day with the better weather.

A third of the population owns a kayak, most of them two-man, a third of those with sails. A few percent of the population own a larger boat that they live on. For a few percent of them it's a commercial boat that they also make their living with. When you book passage here, you book with the vessel's owners who live on the vessel.

The silhouette of hangleaves hangs over much of the basin. The bare trees of dark let more light from Kunae, Cynd and Narrulla to the ground so there are even less lanterns out than you normally see on Kassidor. Most of the population lights with candles, most try to make a single one last thru Nightday. There are some phosphor globes that will store light for the dark, but you see those mainly illuminating the entries to commercial establishments. Quite a few of the public taps will be lit with only a candle. That gives the people getting it on in the back of the room a little more privacy.

The music here is interesting. A tiny bit of the influence of the Fmak is present, but they do use melody and harmony that a normal human ear will appreciate. There is little recorded music, but almost every tap will have an acoustic trio or better performing.

The cinema tends toward fantasies, often from the Troubled Times. Horror is common and well done. None makes its way to Centorin because of women's dress. Much is imported from Kln.

This is said to be the second most sexually obsessed culture after Borlunth. If it's second, Kyeb is a close third. There are sex clubs everywhere, and people are very matter-of-fact, especially the women. The population averages more than two encounters a day. Public sex is commonplace and not at all discrete. You may run into someone kinky and obsessive, even over-the-top, but because people are so open about what they want, you can ask before getting into something more than you bargained for.


Edniktar City

This is probably the most like Trenst of any other major city on the planet. That means it's half way to Trenst. The land is swampy and flat. The climate in Edniktar has much more temperature swing with the time of the week than Trenst, but it is as humid. The water is safe for swimming, drinking water is safe. It is more expensive to live in Edniktar, but the housing is of better quality and roomier, more in line with Zhlindu or Kyeb than the cheap housing in Trenst. There are dangerous drugs here, but not as many as Trenst.

Today it is the smallest city with a tube system, and the tube rates are lower than Trenst or Knidola. All the dense city is along waterfronts and the tubes follow the waterfronts. There are three main rivers entering and three leaving the area. There is waterfront with tubeway along all of them. Behind that the city eventually peters out into boggy ground. The near farmland is where you find houses up in trees above water in this basin, the city itself is on solid ground.

As well as the tube system, there are many streetcars on the land and plentiful sailing packets on the rivers. The sailing packets cover not only the city, which is extensive in area, but go all thru the lowlands of the basin as well.

Edniktar has less multi-level streets than most major cities. Most people get around by kayak or small sailing packets. The wide streets accommodate both wagon and pedestrian traffic. But be warned that even the main roads can be muddy, and can cross even substantial, waist-deep waterways with a ford instead of a bridge. People lift or remove clothing to keep it dry but do not interrupt their conversations when using them.

Larorlie covers as much of the housing as it does in Zhlindu, but because the city is much less dense and the blooms spread thru more of the year, one doesn't get the continual buzz that one has in Zhlindu during the bloom. There is not as much enhanced yaag as in Zhlindu, but the natural yaags have just as much power and lift as any in Zhlindu. Edniktar is not a big beer city. There is nothing to cool it at all, minimum room temperature (20C) is the coolest it will be. Everyone describes the beers of Edniktar as slimy or even wormy.

There are not the large music halls and intense celebrity-driven music scenes of Zhlindu, Yondure or Trenst, but there are thousands of smaller places and a very few networks. People are not as attentive to the performance as in one of the major music cities, but even so, Edniktar is the music center of the whole area, drawing tourists from the Mountain Basins and Ydlontrostl to intimate little clubs that line all the back streets behind the main waterfronts. There are thousands of venues. Only a few hold over a thousand, but there are seven and a half thousand that hold over a hundred. Nearly every public tap will have live music. Most bands are trios with a pneumatic hand drum, a pneumatic whistle and either a yandrille or squeeze box, generally pneumatic except for a single photovoltaic crystal driven by a candlelantern sitting on top of the power block. Some of the bigger places have audio equipment imported from Norbin, Ydlontrostl or even Yclel-vi, but most is manufactured locally. Edniktar is one of the leading centers in the manufacture and design of squeeze boxes, and the effects and chorus they have for them today is phenomenal.

Weekly newspapers are a big thing in Edniktar. They are printed in neighborhoods for a penny (15 min of unskilled labor) apiece with an iron (a day of unskilled labor) deposit on the paper. They wash off and re-use the sheet of paper for ten or twenty earth years. Kevlar is a material on the way to what the Edniktar weeklies use for paper. In real life the customer turns in an old one to get a fresh one for a penny. An average of fifteen people read each copy during the week.

The sex clubs of the city are another thing that draws tourists from distant basins. The most extreme of the basin wind up here and most of the tourists come only to watch. There are normal people around however, and the conversation with someone you'll be interested in might start with something like 'I could never do that.' Half the time she will really mean it, but the comment may mean she would like to try it with you. When you ask, she'll be honest about what she really means.


Kln

Kln is the youngest of the Mountain Basins, and in some ways the most successful. It contains the largest city in the whole geological basin. It has the leading cinema, university and has even overtaken Edniktar in miles of tube system connected to the city. This basin was once considered part of Edniktar by some, one of the Plecerveet kingdoms by some others. It was founded around a university in Kassidor's 41st century, when violence was almost eliminated and youth was already universal in all these basins but Aurailia. The city has grown to forty three million today.

Farms are very similar to the Highlands, most have just a little more than enough to feed their residents, a few larger ones are scattered around, mostly near the larger towns and the city where there are larger markets. Homes built with cut stone or wood are more common than in other parts of the planet. Underground homes are common in some areas, especially the rainy hills of the southwest corner.

Settlement tends to be along the main roads and rivers. You probably reached here on a river boat. You entered this basin when the docks started to be sturdier than the boat instead of the other way around like it was in the Edniktar basin. There is still a lot of wilderness here and dangerous animals are common in the wilds. Loggers go in groups into these woods and each gang has a couple guys with loaded crossbows on watch while the others saw.

Guides will provide training and test you with scary animals before they take you out there. The countryside is no more dangerous than the wilds of the Edniktar basin, it is just that people are more cautious about it here. In the Edniktar basin if you look hard you'll find people who will be glad to sell you weapons and tell you tales about where the animals are, and never see you again. You won't be able to find that dealer in this basin.

The people of Kln tend to be tall and elegant Nordics with long, straight, blond hair and blue eyes. They wear shirts and pants, at least in the cooler parts of the week, shorts in the hotter parts. Male and female have the same clothing styles in this basin. For the dark they have coats a lot like people in the Highlands. Their speech is slow and careful and nearly as erudite as in Bordzvek.

Finding companionship here is more or less the same as in the Highlands, but maybe not quite as direct. More people will know of Centorin here than anywhere you've been since the Highlands. You will find some women who will be more interested because of that, but it will not be as big a draw as in the Yakhan. There are far less people who will want to go to a back room for a quickie than most parts of the planet, way less than the Yakhan. Nearly everyone will want to take you home for the entire sleep or even the entire dark. Many sex clubs do not even have back rooms and public sex is not common here. Anywhere in this basin you can be confident that her place is as comfortable as in the Highlands, though somewhat different in style. Actually a bit more Centorin in style because the bed and tub are not in the main room. There is some chance you can convince her to stay with you at the inn, especially if you are staying at a very nice resort.

The cuisine of the area tends to be plain. Pieces of meat, boiled or broiled vegetables, raw vegetables are common. More eggs and more different kinds of eggs are used here than in most other basins. Horror movies have cooks using keda eggs. Cooks use good equipment, quite often bricked-in grilles with chimneys and built-in caldron stands. They have long term leases on the space instead of the practice in many cities where the cook sets up where he finds a nice spot that day. The darks allow for making ice, and many have fish and marinated steaks in ice chests. Steak with vegetables between toasted bread is available from many cooks in the city. The beer is great and usually served cold.

Facilities for travelers range from civilized but utilitarian to down right swank, and the swankest cost less than the best resorts of the Caribe on Earth. The river packet with family that you hired in Edniktar will be glad to continue providing that service in the Kln basin. This is one of only two Mountain Basins you can reach by boat, but you can reach most of the population (none of the wilds) by boat.


Kln City

The city of Kln is not called 'Queen of the Mountain Basins' for nothing. It is the science, data, finance, media and industrial center of these basins. There is a movement among geographers to combine all the Mountain Basins into the Kln basin and their argument is not without merit. They have a similar ethnicity, culture and heritage. Their 'old tongues' are all related, and now that the canal to Aurailia has been open since 1151ad., (50,50,03 by the Kassidorian calendar) they are economically linked to a common center.

The city is huge, sprawling, clean and prosperous. It has been described as 'The Marsalis of Kassidor' by some, though only a few dozen Centorins have yet traveled this far and it has four times the population of Marsalis. It is one of the few places on Kassidor where you will see many houses built with lumber. They are very common here in some neighborhoods. As well as an extensive tubeway system, there are lots of streetcars and in recent times they have begun to have motorized streetcars. They still only move at 6 mph and you still have to hop on and off while it's moving.

Kln University maintains what is probably the second most important observatory on the planet under the leadership of the wizard Nuplayy. He was involved in the discovery of the Angel expedition that first contacted Kassidor back in 2271. The telescopes themselves are located in the Tegurai Mountains at an elevation of 38,000 feet barometric.

The university is also world class in most other specialties, and has the foremost scholars of Nordic history on the planet. There is a large museum of the Nordics on the campus that is well worth a look. Reproduced in thick hides trimmed with steel edging are the same styles of armor the Normans used in 1066. These are from earlier than 1800bc. when the wars of magic were happening halfway around the globe.

Data service is commonplace, and entertainment screens are found in many public places. This is the place where you are second most likely after Bordzvek to find someone with a personal comm, which they call a 'pocket eye'. Time on a keyboard is cheaper than anywhere on Kassidor, 10 cents (an hour of unskilled labor) for as long as you want. People sometimes spend a good part of a day, sometimes they just look something up and run.

Though it looks nothing like Yclel-vi, it reminds many of that city in goods and services. Plumbing and heating differ mainly in style, alcohol fired heaters are little more common than in Yclel-vi. There are many more screens in Yclel-vi, there is more music in Kln. It has more of a happy country-pop feel than the Edniktar sound.


Passar

This small basin is one of the most remote places on Kassidor. As of now, no Centorin has reached it and returned, so this data is simply translated from native texts.

The Passar basin is home to the great forests of high ground hangleaves. The forest stretches unbroken and untamed over 200,000 square miles. That forest is home to a fairly unique mix of animal life, including the most species from the chuff order found in any one place. The most well known example is the Long-Haired Roper. These woods are also home to the only tree scamps in the world, and they can be quite dangerous.

The forest was once much more populated than today, and the ruins of old castles are common. Ruined roads and bridges are found in the forest, but the evidence of common housing has long disappeared, as they built with wood.

The darks are dangerously cold over most of this basin. All of Nightday is below freezing. Temperatures of minus forty have been recorded. Snowfall of several feet happens at any time of the year.

People still build with wood and heat with wood. Homes tend to be small and sturdy. Crops are somewhat limited because of the severe climate, and food prices are higher than normally seen. Farms are larger than in most basins. People like open space.

The basin is modern enough, there are toilets, running water and some data service. There are few facilities for travelers, but the population is friendly enough that one can find someone with room in their home for the dark. No one goes out during the dark unless they have to. Most businesses are closed, streetcars don't run. Any water traffic is stopped by late in Dusksleep because of the freeze. This is one of only three basins on the planet where waterborne trade with other basins is impossible, even the lower northern Tegurai's are too high, wide and steep to build canals or tunnels thru.

There really is no data on what the sexual mores are in this basin. There is no evidence that it is any different than the other Mountain Basins. It is said to follow old Nordic ways more than the other basins, but Nordic ways were relatively enlightened in relations between the sexes, so it is unlikely that anyone reaching this area is likely to run into a problem in this regard.

The city of Passar is ancient. Parts of it date from before the Energy Age. The old city looks like an interesting place to visit. It is a trading and manufacturing center today. It is about the only place in the basin where one can find an inn. Even in this city of nine million, almost nothing is open for Nightday. In the center of the city Nightday temperatures below zero Fahrenheit are normal.

It is somewhat troubling that no one has returned from there because several have set out to report on it, and have reported from as nearby as Kln. There have been no reports that they ever reached the basin, and the caravan routes in and out of the basin are known to be dangerous, especially if a sudden blizzard hits you in the dark.


Plecerveet

This basin was traditionally the center of the Mountain Basins. It has the longest, bloodiest and most detailed history. Many kingdoms rose and fell here, even before the Energy Age. Writing goes back to 4200bc. here and all the royal families kept records, many of them have been preserved, along with many of the old castles. During the Energy Age it was so far from anything that it was little effected. After the Energy Age it went on as before.

This is another basin that has no water borne commerce with the outside world. In the past a caravan route reached to the Edniktar basin between the Rialoah and North Aurailian mountains. That route is still there, but little used since a big modern roadway was opened thru to the Aurailian basin where water transport is available since early modern times.

This basin is the home of the most beautiful mountain scenery on the planet. There is almost nowhere in the basin where soaring peaks cannot be seen. Most of it is temperate rain forest, though there is some open land in the northeast. Outfitters for climbing, hunting or skiing are common. Peaks with gondola lifts are common near the city.

The population is Nordic. Somewhat more big-boned and rugged than you see in Kln, on average. Clothing styles are more ornate than Kln, but again, the garments are mainly shirts and pants. They use lots of embroidery on shirts, but are often not as well fit as you see in Kln. Most clothing in Kln is made in automated factories, most in this basin hand-sewn by the owner.

There are plenty of inns, and strangers are welcome. Many are built of shaftwood logs. Most have huge stone fireplaces where shaftwood limbs are burned. The hunting is superb in this basin and most inns will put on feasts of wild game cooked in the fireplace every evening. Music is more countrified than Kln and ancient banjo-like acoustic yandrilles are common.

In any inn you stay, you will not need to stay alone. Most people have homes comfortable enough that you can go home with her or stay at the inn. Most will expect you to stay for breakfast. Expect quite a workout.


Plecerveet City

The second largest city in the Mountain Basins is very different from Kln in character, but not in function. It is a much older and more compact city, founded in the early Troubled Times as a neutral meeting place between three powerful kingdoms of the north, east and south. Its original site was beside a rushing stream known for the beauty of the gems found there. That site is deep under the city streets today, but the gemstone industry lives on and the city is famous for it today.

That industry has lead to many others. The city has large industries making threadsaws and other abrasives as well as jewelry. Those products are shipped to all these basins using enormous wagons pulled by teams of up to a dozen kedas.

There are many other pretty waterways around the city, and prospecting for jewels still brings some success. There is some local river traffic within the basin itself. During Afternoonday many people play in the streams, in spite of the fact that they are nearly as cold as the streams around Kex.

The city has a large fleet of streetcars, but they are all keda drawn. There is no tubeway system, but there are some gondola rides up to the hills surrounding the central city. They do not run during Nightday.

The city is a little like Yclel-vi in appearance, huge shaftwoods provide most of the structure and a river winds around it. There are no canals thru the downtown area, no crystal layer to the buildings, not as much polish and far less electronics than you see in Kln, never mind Yclel-vi.

Nightday is not quite as cold as Passar, but it is always below freezing. Businesses are open however, for work and for play, and the people here are willing to play. There are several unique sports, one is a mixture of hockey and curling that gets pretty rowdy and sometimes brings out the Instinct. There is one something like basketball. People participate, and/or watch professionals and bet heavily.

During the light parts of the week, animal racing sports are common. Fast kedas are a way of life for some and a whole society has grown up around them. A soccer-like game is popular, but the field may be a quarter mile long and as many as a hundred people may play on a side. There are few pros in that sport.

Meeting someone here is easy. There are sex clubs but they tend to be for the hard core. Someone you meet at any tap rail is likely to be more normal. If you get along, it is likely she will be glad to remain together thru your entire stay and will be sad to see you go. Women in the city are sometimes not as athletic as they are in the countryside, so you may find yourself more evenly matched.

There is plenty of entertainment in the city, there is a pretty good music scene, again with a country sound. Cinema is imported from Kln, the sports scene was mentioned already. The cuisine is the best of any of these basins with hearty stews and roasts. Nutbreads and sweetbreads are more common than in the Highlands and served as dessert at just about every meal. The beer is as good and as cold as in Kln. Distilled alcohol is common and spicy. The yaag is decent but never enhanced with additional psychedelics. Stronger drugs are almost unknown.


Aurailia

This is the largest and most unique of the Mountain basins. It is the driest, and its southern parts have wide expanses of desert, the east has wide expanses of prairie or open savannah. In the Troubled Times it was home to one kingdom, and thru much of that time ruled by a dynasty of iron-fisted rulers who had more in common with the Fmak Empire than the other Nordic kingdoms of these mountains.

This was the only kingdom where women were treated as possessions, owned by the lord of the nearest castle, but lent for day to day use by a man of the land, providing she wasn't pretty enough for the lord to keep her. That custom is now long gone and only history scholars know of it.

On several occasions the king of Aurailia attempted to enlarge his holdings by conquest, either toward the land that is now Kln, or thru the pass into the Plecerveet basin. At one time an expeditionary force was sent into the lowlands of Edniktar and held some of the onion lands for several generations.

For two centuries this basin resisted the modern age. Only nobles were allowed youth. Finally, in some intrigue involving a wizard at the newly founded university at Kln, the ruling families were wiped out by a virulent virus that left most of the remaining population untouched.

Since then most of the ways of the other Mountain Basins have spread to this one. There are still many castles presiding over large plantations however, and most of the large businesses are still owned by survivors of former lesser nobles. In language and gesture many remember the past. The old language is full of honorifics and in many villages ceremonies are still conducted in the ancient language.

The scenery here is not as pretty as the Kln basin, as wild as the Passar or as spectacular as the Plecerveet. Most of the land is a savannah covered plain, where it is not farmed. The north and south Aurailian Mountains rise in the west, but for most people they are distant. There are grand shaftwood covered peaks in the mountains, and a few small logging towns up there.

In the east central basin there is a lot of open savannah with the normal herds of grazers. A two ton blademouth called the bork is common there. They are not smart enough to be scared off by a crossbow and have to be brought down to stop their attacks. It will generally take ten to twenty arrows to finally bring it down, so you are advised not to travel the wilds alone or unarmed. There are few theirops in that area, the borks eat them, but hakken packs are common.

The people in this basin are also Nordic, but blond and blue eyed is not universal, in fact most have medium brown hair and amber eyes. In the south of the basin there are many Fmak. Trolls are also found in significant numbers in the Porrick hills in the west center of the basin, and traces of their genes show up in many of the population.

This is the only one of the Mountain Basins with heavy water traffic. Big ships can make the journey up from Edniktar thru a thousand big locks on the Aurailian River. There have been dams and locks on that route since the Energy Age. In modern times a canal with few locks has been built far into the southern part of the basin, and packets ply that also.

Music, cinema and other forms of entertainment are adequate, but most is imported. Live music is mostly amateur but sometimes very well done, at other times really honky-tonk. Most pubs play recordings. The serious music is at the schools, and they do have public performances.

There are very few sex clubs as such, and those that there are, are more likely to be abodes of professionals than casual meeting places. But it is not difficult to come across a casual encounter at many public taps. The days of women as chattel are thousands of Earth years in the past and no trace of that attitude remains. People may be somewhat more reserved here than the average on Kassidor, but there's still a good chance she'll ask you first.

Life in the towns of the basin is reasonably comfortable. There are lanterns that must be hand lit, and sturdy glass or ceramic wood stoves for heat. During the dark the air in the cities can be quite smokey, but by lunch time of Morningday it has always cleared. Afternoondays are warm and sunny and in the east the water is warm enough to enter.

Life in the countryside can be a bit primitive. There are often outhouses and hand-dug wells. Fireplaces provide the heat in most country homes, and the whole family stays near it thru the entire dark. Irrigation is required for crops in most areas, especially in the east, and in most cases it requires pumping water by hand or even carrying it in buckets.

The city of Aurail is the smallest 'basin city' on the planet, only 3.5 million contiguous urban people. It is located in the heavily populated northwest of the basin, along with dozens of other small cities. In some ways it looks a lot like Trastrab, but the numerous islands of urban land are not connected together by urbanized high roads into one contiguous city. There is little to distinguish the city from any of the hundreds of smaller towns in this part of the basin other than the ruins of the old royal palace. From the river you won't notice it unless someone tells you that these particular clumps of shaftwood buildings are in the city called Aurail.

In the city are the ruins of the king's castle. Only a small part has been preserved, but the ancient walls can be traced thru the city for miles. They are on a hill well back of the waterfront. They are not well marked, but by the third person you ask, someone will know where they are. More than likely the girl you met knows where they are and has been there herself and will have fun showing them to you. You will be surprised at the size and roughness of the stones used to make the walls. The long line to use the king's bed is not worth the wait, but because there is a superstition that using it brings lasting love, she may insist.


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