This map is about 3900 miles north to south and 4800 east to west. This is another of the planet's biggest and most populous basins. Thirty of the forty billion people on the planet trace their roots back to here. The oldest artifact recovered here has been dated to 24,112bc. It was found in the city this basin is named for, while excavating the ruins of an archeological museum that was built in 5150bc.
Like the Lumpral basin, this is another where one has to throw up their hands and surrender. It is not even a place where there is a certain level of detail you can leave out, especially in the early years. From the very earliest times, castles, clans and ancestry has been important to the elite of this basin. The culture of this basin has the most distinct classes, especially in ancient times.
Castles and clans were linked by fealty in shifting webs as alliances changed with each generation. For thousands of years no one clan could become too dominant. Clans often had fewer than 100 members in those days. It is presumed that each spoke a slightly different dialect of the proto-glaithic tongues that were spoken in those days. Metal was more common in those days, and steel-edged swords have been found back as early as 8100bc. Human remains from those days often had sword marks on them.
Different clans began keeping some sort of records with marks as early as 7000bc. It was 6000bc. before there was any writing system that could be read beyond the record keepers of that one castle. With writing, learning developed, and there are institutions of learning in this city up to four thousand years older than the Kassikan. In them are thousands of rooms of volumes holding the details of the early civilizations in this basin.
The city of Yondure is the only possible challenger Dzenovah has for oldest city in human space. Archeological evidence suggests that the site had plumbing, paved streets and busy docks as early as 10,000bc. The land covered by the current contiguous urban area had many kingdoms of many clans each, so we can be sure this was not all considered one city. At that time two thirds of the present city was under water.
In 6000bc. the sea appears to have been at it's height and the water was a few feet higher than the lake level today. There were dozens of islands with separate castles on them, some on islands so small the castle took up the whole island. As the sea receded, land was added around each castle and their holdings expanded to follow the sea.
The heads of the Imolee clan expanded their ring of fealty by guaranteeing landowners rights. For dozens of generations they pursued it till they sat at the center of a web of fealty that held most of the land for at least a hundred miles in all directions. By 6000bc. they were building many new castles in newly added parts of their realm.
Other cultures that were in the area at the time have largely been lost. The Leprechauns of the Westwoods survived and retained a lot of their culture, as did the Trolls north of the Gligzaths. There were many more with hundreds of languages. There were underground villages, villages built from bones where they did spectacular macrame and cliff dwellings overlooking the tribe's fields. All passed out of existence by 4600bc. as the clans of Yondure expanded thruout the basin.
The main reason they could do that was those centers of learning in and around the great castles of the central clans. They were often centers of military research where they advanced the art of warfare beyond anything the remainder of the basin had seen. Against poison darts and longbows they had armor and firearms, broadswords and pikemen. Many of the indigenous peoples were impressed as slaves on the estates of the settlers. We only know of their existence from anthropological records found in the ruins of the universities of that time.
The labs of the early kings also produced, nearly by accident, a bacterium capable of secreting carbon fiber. They already had forms of glass ductile enough to be re-enforced by this fiber. Crystal building was born and for the next few hundred Earth years, people went crazy with it. Each of the leading clans commanded his architect to build the tallest possible building, and one of them is just about four miles in height. It was stopped because no one's stomach could take the motion imparted by the several atmospheric layers it passed thru. All but the first few hundred floors are abandoned today.
The name of this fealty network of large clans could be best translated as 'The Realm' in the language of it's time. That language was Lystic. Lystic became the leading language in the whole Yondure basin and the nZhiktar and Dzintiss basins beyond. Writing in Lystic has been discovered in the Thulitlanth lands, in Tthmuurng, and in the Korst. It appears that local languages still persisted in this time and Lystic was a common tongue used by all. It is Lystic that gave the city, and thereby the basin, it's name. Yondure is 'Great Castle' in Lystic, and the city was named for the great castle of the Imolee clan, the one with the tallest tower. Much of that castle is buried under hundreds of feet of ruins today, but in 5000bc. it is said to have covered a square mile.
Explorers and adventurers from The Realm explored distant parts of the planet. They reached what are now the Elven Old Lands before 5000bc. and had a profound impact on that culture. They brought arts, sciences and considerable technology. Those lands were much poorer in metals than the lands of Yondure so their metallurgy did not transfer, but in many other ways this contact caused the rise of the Thulitlanth culture that was the precursor of the civilization that brought about the Energy Age.
By 4000bc., The Realm had evolved from a collection of fealty oaths to a political system closer to what we would describe as a sovereign government. It claimed control of the entire basin and administration of the Bordzvek, Vesh and nZhiktar basins. The Dzintiss basin was the first to become independent. In the other surrounding basins the onion could not be grown and there was no significant population.
This was the center of its classic age. The clothing styles, the tapestries, the ornamentation of the clan halls, the fanciful crystal building all reached their height during this age. A recognizable yandrille came into common use and the music of The Realm became the world standard. The two hour song known as The HarvestHenge was written in this era by a religious cult that believed music is God.
The most elaborate coaches and carriages ever seen on the planet were in use in those years. They had the flamboyance of a Carnival Samba float, but were built of ornately scrolled wood and crystal. We see the pictures today and think they are whimsical drawings, but those things were actually built and royalty actually paraded in them at monumental ceremonies with thousands of people involved. The Great Hall of the Great Castle sat over twelve thousand people, each with a small desk. There were shouters with megaphones relaying the speaker's words.
The king of The Realm had ministers and commissioners to take care of the day-to-day administration. The king issued decrees that were interpreted by his judges and carried out by his bureaucrats. The king himself was largely sheltered from the lesser issues of the kingdom and dealt mainly with his ceremonial duties with an occasional royal fact-finding committee formed to investigate anything that lead to an unsettling hue and cry.
The culture then was pretty much as it is now. Clans and their castles dominated the land. A few small holders held out in the swampy areas and the rocky patches, but all the best land was in the hands of the powerful clans. Their castles were all of dressed stone in 4000bc, but more and more crystal as we get into the 34th and 33rd century bc. In most castles, then as now, the head of the clan gives a speech before dinner, honoring the clan and their ancestors. Their ancestors were much more immediate in those days, and the speeches were in Lystic, but little else has changed.
The Realm and the kings of Imolee looked set to go on forever until news came in that Dzintiss had fallen to a conqueror from the far southwest named Illewe the Undying. The Realm had never been able to re-take Dzintiss once they broke away from their motherland, and it had been attempted by almost every generation.
Illewe was not a conqueror, he was a uniter. Illewe was king of the Elves, the successors of the Thulitlanths. They brought trade, peace, mail and soon telegraph. They had balloons, huge free-floating ones used as firing platforms, and high tethered ones used as reconnaissance. They didn't bring oaths of fealty, all they did was run the schools, in the basins they had encountered up until now.
The schools in this basin had moss three feet thick when the forces of Illewe advanced. The military of The Realm were more about fancy uniforms and finagling better duty assignments from the sergeant than opposing hi tech air power. The forces of Illewe advanced unopposed and found the governance of this huge nation thrust on them. They put the king's advisor on the throne and had him administer the kingdom as it was.
The Elves' plan to establish education in the city and basin did not go as well. People continued to send their children to the established schools that taught in Lystic. The Elven culture had little more impact on Yondure than it did in the Lumpral basin.
During the Energy Age, only the heads of the wealthiest clans could afford youth, and it was during this time that the 'head of household as God' religion began to thrive. None of the heads of clans seems to have laid in enough of a supply to last thru the Troubled Times, none seemed to survive more than a generation more than they would have. There is a rumor that a one-eyed lab assistant now working at Pinnacle Labs has survived since the Energy Age. The latest figures show 327 one-eyed lab assistants at Pinnacle Labs (most of them went into the ceramics test labs without their eye protection) and not many of them have volunteered to have their memories read.
The Elves probably did learn as much from Yondure as Yondure did from the Elves. The Elves took crystal and the yandrille from Yondure, both are still important in their culture today. Yondure took blinker code from the Elves, and kept it in service over some area. It cannot be done from the multi-mile high towers because they sway too much, but the service never covered less area than the city does today.
After the Energy Age the basin continued pretty much as it was, but under the TedellBas dynasty instead of the Imolee. Under his rule the local clans, or groups of clans, began to declare their sovereignty, starting with those in the Illiyang region. All thru the early Troubled Times the actual land controlled by The Realm decreased, until they were just trying to protect the Castle itself by the time of the wars of magic.
The clans grew ever more powerful and important while the Elves went thru their Troubled Times. The universities and laboratories in the city were what kept it inhabited during this time. The Great Castle became a squatter's camp. At times a violent squatters camp. It is only the toughness of the crystal that lets us see the building today. Of the furnishings and the finish, nothing remains but some written records unearthed in 421ad., and two tapestries, each about twenty five by fifty feet, that were stolen by a rival clan before the castle was sacked.
The Realm was gone in the Troubled Times, but four hundred miles to the south is another group of great clans that possessed the top of a broad hill. They named their cabal after the river with its headwaters on that hill, the Hbanan. This gentle hill was the site of castle after castle back into pre-history. Long before the Energy Age there had been large towns at the base of the hill. By the time of the wars of magic the base of the hill was a city surrounding a few castles on the hill. People were already calling the city Hbanan. That city has grown into the second largest in the basin and has been a large city constantly, never going thru periods of near abandonment like the city of Yondure.
The knights/cavalry of Hbanon soon conquered the southern third of the basin. They lured young men into service with promises of wealth and adventure. They held their empire together with relays of fast riders carrying pouches of dispatches. But just as they secured the frontier near the basin's rim, a new foe was working it's way toward them.
Soon they were confronted with an organized force using powered equipment, organized infantry and a telegraph to communicate with a capital thousands of miles away in a matter of hours. For generations their canal pushed relentlessly onward and none could halt their progress. Many worried that they would build locks that would get their war machines down deeper into the land. The half-Trolls who lived up there petitioned for succor, and finally a young firebrand came forward who would train and lead an army that would drive them back.
In spite of huge losses and the overwhelming technical superiority of the Bordzvek Republic, the fanatics drove them back. The Bordzvekians were more worried about how the war looked than how it progressed and made great tactical errors. They didn't learn about the local cultures, but tried in vain to mold local cultures into copies of their own. In 1181bc., suicide squads destroyed key dams on the canal, immobilizing Bordzvekian logistics. Forty one years later another raid allowed them to push the enemy back to Forooth. Clans of the Hbanan empire quickly moved in to settle it and all that territory has been considered part of the Yondure basin ever since.
The culture of the Yondure basin has proved to be the most resistant to the culture coming from the Kassikan. Yes, they took eternal youth, first for the head of household, then for everyone, as soon as they heard about it. They use amplified music (actually invented in Zhlindu) and this basin has always been one of the largest consumers of data service. By the end of the starship age, just about every castle had a data terminal.
All thru the history of the basin there have been a few people who are not in clans or castles. All thru history their lot has been especially harsh. In ancient times they were sometimes hunted down or driven out. They eked survival from the land no clan wanted. Most of them were people who had been turned out of a clan for crimes, or the children of those who had.
In ancient times they were a small fraction of the population, but today they are over sixty percent. A good portion of them are urban, a good portion are hired hands at a castle. They don't get to live in the castle, but the Instinct means a man doesn't have to hold his ground by himself any more. The growth in this part of the population has been mostly since the Instinct. They are called 'landless' by those of the castles, though 41% of them have land they can live from and 82% own their home. This class distinction has been very important in society and is only slowly blurring, even now. There are some who try very hard to maintain that class distinction and keep themselves separated from the rabble as much as possible.
There are really two cultures in the Yondure basin today. The one of the castles and clans, and the one of everyone else. The castles remain as they were. Some are still very formal and stuffy, finery is still worn. The head of household's carriage is still going to look more like something Cinderella would arrive in and the great halls are still hung with the most detailed and vibrant tapestries that have ever been produced. In most, the head of house still speaks before dinner and dinner is a religious service.
The remainder of the basin are relatively poor smallholders or urban folk. Their lifestyle is more like many other basins of Kassidor. The climate and environment most of them live in is more like Borlunth, but there are many more ages of ruins, and a lot more crystal, even crystal ruins. The topography is much more asymmetric than Borlunth, and the urban complex today is three times the size of Borlunth.
Yondure is a more coherent city then Lumpral, but in some ways not much. The oldest parts are now the islands and mainland. The newest parts (which look even older) are the industrial lands downstream of the dam. The cultural and educational 'center of town' is city island, but the economic engine is on the dam and on the mouth of the jT'doan.
Besides the great towers, the thing to see in Yondure is the life of a clan. Unfortunately most don't give tours. You'll usually get in by claiming business with the household, and some will accept the truth with some grace. Some clans are secretive and suspicious and many a suspense and horror movie has been set in some of those clans, especially before the Instinct.
The cinema of Yondure is excellent, and comes in two flavors, the clan and castle with full regalia, or avant-garde psycho-symbolic dreams that you really need psychedelics to appreciate. There is a lot of scatter around those two poles, and some borrow from each other. There is a really big horror scene in both styles, and if you want to get really creeped out by a movie, you can find one here.
The music here is what you would expect from the culture that invented the yandrille. They are used a lot, they are played solo, they are played in groups. There are more different kinds than anywhere. There are lots of acoustic, antler-actuated ones like the ones first invented, and many people play them very well and will be found in large numbers on the City Island waterfront hoping for handouts.
Economically this basin has a big difference between rich and poor. The rich are mainly in the castles and even the lowest status members live in relative comfort. Each clan is very self sufficient but employs good technology and organization. Few have serious freeloader problems, few are very badly run. The poor have a material standard of living somewhere between Borlunth and Trenst. Most have to pump water, some have to boil it. Some have only 'porta-pottie' sanitation. On the land the outhouse is common. Very few of the poor use data service or pay for anything more than a few cups of yaag over the necessities. Few have kayaks, few can afford the streetcars. The lumbering ferries from City Island to the dam are a penny a ride and many come to City Island on them looking for work every day. Not all find it and not all have the penny to get back. They sleep in the ruins and try again the next day.
The people here tend to be short with dark curly hair, their skins are quite light. They range from dainty to plump. Few are into big muscle unless they use them professionally. Those who live in the castles are more pure in this racial distinction, the common people have a lot of admixture, especially from Trolls and Goblins.
Goblins are still very common north of the Gligzaths, but still not a third of the population in the center of their region. Trolls are even more common in that area, but they are found thruout the planet today, while Goblins are becoming fairly rare.
The sex scene in Yondure is different for castle and commoner. For a girl from a castle, you'll have to go to the clan dinner with her (about the only way you'll get into the main hall) and be approved before she will sleep with you. As long as you don't insult the head of household or throw up on the table, you'll be approved in most unless the girl is a very important member. Among the remaining folk, again there is a strong psycho-symbolic avant-gardiness to them that you'll often run into. Don't go there, our culture is ten thousand years too young for that. If you keep looking, you'll find a friendly, middle-of-the-road casual encounter like you've come to expect over the remainder of the planet.
Two climate zones are common in this basin, the climate of the deeps, and a seasonal mid-depth climate. High altitudes at this latitude can be quite a challenge on a winter Dawnsleep, but there are a few who brave it. Some use advanced technology snuck out of Borzvek, some just endure.
Much of the basin was once covered by a shallow ocean. Extensive irrigation over thousands of years has drawn a lot of that ocean up into the soil, and the general drying of the planet in recent centuries may have contributed. A lot more water is retained in the nZhiktar basin in modern times. Before the Energy Age it was a seasonal desert. Two thirds of the former seabed is now a salt flat. A single channel along the shore is kept open by tidal forces dragging a river back and forth along the edge.
Many of the steepest continental slopes are found in this basin. The ramparts on the far side of the salt flat are even steeper than the mountains of Quanwark in the Zhlindu basin. They are much more difficult to visit however. The Gligzaths are probably the most impressive mountains on the planet. They rise nine miles above the city and are barely a hundred miles away. They cannot be seen from the city, but they can be seen from a couple miles up one of the great towers once you get into thinner air. From fifty miles away, they loom out of space. You cannot see them thru the lower atmosphere, you see them plainly above. The summits are at 25,000 to 30,000 feet barometric. A whole continental plate has broken and is being pushed up vertically to make them.
Most of the basin is deep, four to five miles below sea level barometrically. There is little variation in temperature, the sky is light grey or purple. The humidity is high and drizzle is common. The sunlight is pale and red, when it shines, and with so much air above, it is pretty rare when there aren't one or two layers of cloud. The basin floor is more hilly than most of the deep basins, and lush with dark green. The fanciful and soaring crystal castles help give it a magical aspect.