This basin is known for bonfires, fun loving beach towns and nomadic tribes on the prairies. It is an important crossroad and has seen a lot of history. This map is a little over three thousand miles square.
This basin is known for having the oldest system of writing in human space. Mossy ruins of stone cities sit on bluffs above the Knidola River that date from 13,700bc to 11,800bc. They bear inscriptions in several different languages, but none of them have been deciphered. Analysis of the remains found at the sites say that racially the peoples were of the Borgoth family, an ethnic group that did not know writing again until the Energy Age.
That culture had commerce with almost all of the current basin, but did not build large settlements outside a three hundred mile stretch of the Knidola just south of the Janek Basin. There is good evidence that the engineering done to the river in that area was done during that time. There was no sure survival in the basin at the time without covering onions for the dark because frost is likely during the winter darks, weeks Knmonaweep thru Chezhervizhod. That means they had enough science and technology to do that, but they may have been no more than earthenware pots in their homes, much like the Borgoth tribes keep in their tents today.
The south of the basin along the Elerron River is frost free and has been a center of Dwarven culture since deep in prehistoric time. From the fall of that pre-Borgoth culture until the Troubled Times, they were the leading culture in the basin. They had commerce with that ancient culture, and oral legends speak of the 'white hairs' as they were called, presumably because so many of their people lived to old age.
Dwarven written history in the basin can be traced to a little earlier than forty five hundred BC. The earliest inscriptions were illustrated bas-reliefs of their oral traditions and religious beliefs. By four thousand BC the reigns of many kings were being recorded in many kingdoms. All the great Dwarven halls were in the tunnels of the Chineeroon Conclave that overlooks the Elerron River for over a thousand miles all along the limeface. We are lucky that succeeding generations preserved so many of the inscriptions from the past. Today the tunnel walls are carved with them for miles. The details of that time and place are too much to go into here, a whole world of civilized 'cave' dwellers that lasted thousands of years about whom many volumes have been written.
In the Energy Age a glideway was pushed thru the northern part of the basin. Most of the Dwarven kingdoms were part of Dempala's empire most of the time, but they were not without strain and the Elves kept their settlements well away from the Dwarven kingdoms. The settlements were sparse, but an Elvish presence was established in the central part of the basin.
The hardy onion allowed the Janek Basin to be settled and that settlement began during the Energy Age. The Janek people are a branch of the Nordics. Records show they came from the Yondure Basin via the glideway and bought property from the Dempalan government from 3021bc until the fall, with much of the land along the Knidola settled by 2900bc.
The first stones were laid on the current Knidola locks during the late Energy Age sometime after 2700bc. The very first settlements were made by the Western Sylvan Elves, but after The Fall large numbers of Eastern Sylvan Elves began to come into the area. At first there was some friction, with an area along the present lockway comprising an embattled kingdom of Western Sylvan Elves. During the empire of Dempala II, even more of the eastern branch of the Sylvan Elves were driven into the area, but they were united by their opposition to the Hard Kings. The Dwarves from the south joined them and the forces of the Isle were turned back at Gazagoong.
Yet another wave of Eastern Sylvan Elves entered the basin in front of the advancing hordes of Orcs and Goblins in the aftermath of the wars of magic. By then the Western Sylvan Elves had been assimilated into the general population of the central basin.
The remaining Troubled Times were relatively benign in the central basin. Peace was maintained among the Elves and generally among the Dwarves, and their populations were far enough apart (it takes a local year to get an army from Knidola city to the limeface) that there were only a few border skirmishes. The Elves tiny babies and better agriculture soon gave them a numerical advantage in this basin as in many others.
In the late Troubled Times the cities of the lockway were large and prosperous. The resorts of the beaches were already starting to appear and the lake was already reaching it's current level so that in 700bc, Lake Knidola and Center Lake of the Dorcaikin Toz were nearly the same size. The kingdom of Knidola was by far the industrial powerhouse and economic leader of all the states along the lake and the river. The far side of the lake was thinly settled, with an endless wilderness of scrubby prairie behind them. But then a canal was put in behind that prairie, and the basin was confronted with a much larger and more advanced industrial power.
The beaches of Knidola were claimed by the Bordzvek republic for a short time. Even the might of that military that could have crushed either side in WWI was not enough when the front was four hundred miles of wild prairie and fifty miles of choppy lakewater from their bases on the Great Canal. Using cavalry armed with crossbows, single masted sloops with deck mounted crossbows, and hoards of infantry, they pushed the forces of Bordzvek to the far shore and kept them there. They eventually drove them from all of the basin but a single town on the lake and a narrow corridor up to their canal.
When the modern age began, Elves and Dwarves were quick to embrace it. The kingdom of Knidola became the city of Knidola in a century. For three thousand years everything remained in almost total stasis thruout the basin. The 50's brought a suntower connection to the city. The starship age brought electronics and data service to most large towns. Most companies buy their technology from Zhlindu or the Yakhan and it is transmitted over the suntower system.
When the modern age began many of the plains nomads refused to give up their way of life. Instead of being assimilated completely into the culture spreading from the Kassikan, they drafted tribal charters that all members who remained had to swear to. The various tribes allowed different amounts and features of the greater culture into their lives, but just about every tribe maintains the core principals of closure, meaning there is a clear distinction between members and non members; nomadism, meaning that the tribe is not restricted to any particular piece of ground; and polygamy, meaning that members may mate with any other member of the opposite sex. Most of the tribes have remained intact for three thousand years under those charters. Their relatively high rate of reproduction balances the leakage they suffer to the modern world.
Knidola seems poised to break out of it's endless loop and embark on a growth spurt. The tubeway is the cheapest on the planet. It has united the lockway into one city even more than magazines and data service did, and the one along the beach promises to do the same there. A third tube line along the Heklar paddleway is already being talked about, as well as one on the opposite shore of the lockway. The skeletons of the first crystal buildings along the beaches are starting to show above the trees.
There are multiple cultures within the basin even today, and they each have their own region.
The Sylvan Elves occupy the shores of the lake and most of the half million square miles of rolling midlands to the west. It is an area of big clan farms housed in beautiful grown-stone castles many centuries old. Their culture is known for festivals out in the fields with big fires and lots of kegs around harvest season, though the seasons are barely detectable. Frost is common during winter darks, in summer darks in the higher elevations, so there was no real settlement in the area until the hardy onion was developed during the Energy Age.
A lot of fuel is grown in the forests and the culture is relatively materialistic. Water power is small scale and there are less canals and water traffic than in the average basin. There are still millions of miles of them, but less than ten percent of the basin's population has water access or owns a kayak. Most clans have a keda or two and at least a farm wagon, quite often a sulky or surry.
The people are Elvish but short with dark hair and round faces. The men are huskier than most Elves and have beards on their chins. The women have more curves than the Elvish norm. Their music is livelier and less ethereal than most Elves. Because they were isolated from other Elvish cultures so long, they have picked up a lot from the Dwarves.
Finding company in this region is a lot like most areas of the planet. There are clubs in most towns, many different ones in the cities. Nudity is a little less common in them than in the Highlands, but common on the beaches, and permitted in most sex clubs. People are not as vain about their bodies as in the Highlands, but still appreciate beauty and like to be appreciated in turn.
The southern lowlands are still home to lots of Dwarves and their influence on the culture of the area is still very strong. The Chineeroon Conclave runs for over a thousand miles along the Elerron River in this area and many miles of the caverns are still inhabited today. It is the Dwarves that gave the Sylvan Elves the bonfire, and the Dwarves of the south use them at their festivals even more, even today. Beer is still revered and eMostee, the god of beer, is a deity in this area as in Prvest.
What cities there are in this area are still largely underground in the old conclaves. None but Elerron are over three hundred thousand. There are rich farmlands across the river and the whole limeface is now pocked with countless cities and villages. The conclave itself connects the whole region underground. Streetcars and canals run thru the tunnels and the Elerron river runs underground for over a hundred miles. There are miles and miles of tunnels that are still uninhabited.
In modern times Dwarven women have broken the strictures of their ancient culture, and you will have little trouble finding company in this region. Women in this region are known for their lustiness, but not aggressiveness. They like to enjoy their large breasts and public petting is common everywhere, not just in the clubs.
The climate along the lower Elerron is just about frost free, so a large population was able to live here before the Energy Age. Rainfall is not quite as plentiful as in the central basin, but more than adequate.
There are still a lot of Janeks in the Janek sub-basin, descendants of those who remained behind when most of their nation moved. Some parts of their old culture remain, the orderliness and planning. The Janeks are taller and fairer than most in the basin, but even in their sub-basin, almost no one is pureblood these days and most have picked up the culture of the Sylvan Elves in the central basin.
One aspect they have not picked up is sexuality. In the Janek culture monogamy was very strict in ancient times. In today's world variety is almost a medical necessity, but it is highly codified with schedules and rituals and lists of partners. Appointments are made and escorts are provided. You can still chose from among the Elvish population of the area, and there are plenty of professionals.
The thing to see in the area are the costumed dances. In the Janek tradition there is one for each week of the year with Lmonteira's being the most important. Every girl has costumes for three or four weeks, and they are very sexy with deep cleavage, high slits and gauzy materials. In most villages they are done at the cook's court. The music is from a tradition that predates the Energy Age with many patterns similar to those of The Harvesthenge. Today it is usually a recording. The professionals are the women watching in even sexier clothing.
In this area there are frosts during most darks and Afternoondays are rather hot. It is drier than the central basin with a savannah climate. The seasons are barely detectable.
In the far west along the upper Elerron there begins to be a strong presence of Orc and Goblin in the population, as well as some Dwarves and Elves and mixtures of all four. The farther west you go, the more Orc and Goblin you find.
Cultural opportunities become scarce as you get farther out that way. Villages are more clannish and less open to outsiders. As you near the headwaters of the Elerron, any company you might find is probably not company you want.
The main reason to be out here is that it is one of the most important long-distance trade routes in the world. One of only three routes that link whole hemispheres together. The western edge of the Knidola Basin is generally considered to be the Gazagoong Carry, an immense wooden railcar that hauls whole ships from the upper Elerron to the headwaters of the South Pewpspway. It is drawn by a herd of kedas and carries ships twenty one miles between the two rivers. It has been in operation almost four thousand years and is truly one of the wonders of the world.
The climate is dry midlands. Frost is common in the darks, agriculture requires irrigation.
The high prairies of the Knidola Basin are home to the Borgoth family of tribes. The Borgoth race is very widespread, from here to the Ydlontrostl, Trenst and Lumpral basins, but while the tribes are of that race, the cultures differ in different areas of the planet and most of other people of that race are not nomads except for the plainsmen of the Ydlontrostl.
These tribes range all along the high prairies of the Pewpsway Basin also, but their center of gravity is the plains in the southwest of the Knidola Basin. These peoples have maintained at least some of the ancient life of plains nomads that they had been since before the Energy Age. They are more or less open to outsiders, but even those who welcome outsiders do not have the same code of conduct for outsiders that they do for members. In some cases that is good, in some cases you have to be on your guard.
The largest and most famous tribe of the Borgoth peoples is still the Traygoths, but they live mainly in the south of the Pewpspway Basin, though many are often seen in the Knidola Basin. The Traygoths are famous for personal adornment with tattoos, jewelry, leather and beadwork. They spend all the time they can with no clothing except those adornments, and are very stoic to the cold of their habitat, especially if outsiders are present. The Traygoth are the least structured of the Borgoth tribes, allowing members to take time off and discuss affairs of the outside world. The Traygoths welcome a limited number of outsiders, love to entertain them and will treat outsiders fairly in almost all cases.
The Torilites are the next most well known, though they are less numerous. They live in the Borgoth heartlands, the near savannah in the southwest of the basin. They are people of great strength who are still nomadic. Polygamy is very militant in their troops with no one allowed to choose favorites. They have a reputation as thieves and their tribal charter permits them to steal from non members. Before the Instinct they were fierce warriors and cannibals and they still tell stories of those times. Their dealings with outsiders are very ritualistic, involving tea ceremonies and formal business exchanges.
There are 112 chartered tribes altogether. They range from the Beedwin, who sign on members for year-long camp and party sessions, to the reclusive Ish who live far up on the flank of the Polywunk Waste and do not have any contact with the outside world.
Should you spend the sleep with one of the Borgoth tribes, you will rarely be permitted to sleep alone. Women will compete to win your bed, sometimes literally in a sporting event like archery or javelin (be glad you don't have to compete with them) or even wrestling. The Torilites have a natural mutation giving them great strength, so you're going to have to beg for mercy if you spend the sleep with one of them. Among the Traygoths they will usually dance for you and the men around the fire will cheer them on and try to delay you from choosing one until they have seen everything each woman has to offer. With their elaborate and sensual tattoos, complex thongwork and thick beaded hair, many will find these performances to be quite a show. Among most Borgoth peoples, monogamy is taboo, everyone always says yes to everyone in the troop. For most of them, providing an exciting bedpartner is a matter of tribal honor, so it is in your best interest to chose someone. If you chose the woman least likely to hurt you, you can admit as much. They will be amused and probably cut you a little more slack because of it.
The tribes hold a massive powwow every tenth Kivundeer that any chartered Borgoth tribe may attend. Outsiders are NOT allowed and they will do everything the Instinct allows to keep you away. They set up a perimeter over a mile from the site and the sites are in depressions so even a telescope won't get you in. Members have talked about what goes on at them. There are athletic competitions, sexual competitions, toughness competitions. They get senseless on jel and bing. Gel is a mild hallucinogen, bing is a powerful hallucinogen that renders one unconscious, but with powerful and often horrifying dreams that one remembers very (too) clearly after, sometimes reliving them for days. The sport of B'tawk (a combination of polo and jousting) can get intense enough that serious injuries and even death can occur.
Theirs is a seasonal highland climate. Winter darks are frigid and in ancient times survival was only possible by bringing onions indoors for the dark. That custom has survived. Summer Afternoondays are blistering. There is not enough water for much agriculture so most of the vegetable matter in their diet is wild.