Durasken is a country to the north of Ustream.
Like its neighbor to the south, Ustream, Durasken is a fairly large region dominated by forests and mountains. The extreme north and south are almost entirely forested, with the north being snowbound all year. The south and most of the center of Durasken, as well as a small amount of the north, are covered with sheer mountain cliffs. While a few communities of humanoids rest precariously upon these cliffs, the mountains are almost entirely untamed wilderness, serving as the homes of the myriad mountainous dragons, including several species of firedrake. What is not forest, mountain, or open sea is flat grassland, and here is where much of the civilized population makes its living.
Durasken is made up mostly of islands, with one "mainland" connected to the continent that also holds Ustream. To the southwest is a small, mostly flat island called Dreymire which is nothing more than plainland and the occasional farm or village. The mainland takes up the rest of the south and is where most of the population- be it humanoid or wildlife- resides. The mainland is split in two by a large river, however the detatched northern portion is not considered its own island. Much of this region is mountainous, while the south is forest and the rest is grassland. The north of the mainland carries a peninsula that, when seen from above, looks much like the tail of a scorpion, earning it the nickname Sting Peninsula.
Above this peninsula are a pair of islands that were once connected by a bridge of land. This bridge has since eroded away and left the two islands looking like a pair of birds about to touch beaks, earning them the name Western and Eastern Flock Islands. Western Flock Island hosts Durasken's capital city, Tarik. Like the island in the southwest, Eastern Flock Island is open grassland, however Western Flock Island is covered in rolling hills, sometimes forming deep valleys. Tarik is situated in one such valley.
A large crescent-shaped island makes up the northwest portion of Durasken. The island, named Kelvelas, has a rather thin mountain range along part of the coast and a smaller one at the northern end. A large, perpetually frozen river runs through it. Much of the island is at a great altitude, and thus is covered in snow almost year-round. The northern half is dense forest. While a few settlements hang on in the cold and the elevation, most communities are down near the coast, where the climate is milder.
There is an unnamed and almost unsettled island to the direct east of the northern half of Kelvelas. The reason for this island being almost untouched by civilization is neither climate(mild until the cold north), nor geography(mountains and forests). The island is almost overrun by dragons, helped by the fact that the Fyrebornes have set up their own hold on the island. Only the bravest of those who call themselves dragon slayers dare to sail to this island.
Major Towns and Cities
- Tarik, Durasken's capital city. Located on Western Flock Island.
- Daris, Durasken's second largest city. Located on the northeastern mainland.
- Trevas, a major shipping and mercantile town. Located at Scorpion Point, on Sting Peninsula.
- Griffonwing Refuge, a small outpost on the very southern tip of the unnamed island, as close to the mainland as possible.
- Jeirno, a somewhat large town in Ravenwind Pass, a mountain pass on the northern mainland.
- Fyreborne Hold, the base of operations for the Fyrebornes. Located somewhere in the mountains on the unnamed island, however nobody has made it out alive to report its exact location.
Durasken's government is that of a magocracy-oligarchy, and the ruling group in this case is a small circle of individuals, many of them powerful mages. It can be considered somewhat of a "lawful neutral" state of affairs: Laws are strict and unyielding, though fair, and often travelers who do not know the law are expected to follow it anyway.
Laws and Regulations
Durasken has a few laws in particular that outsiders may not know. Other than the following, many laws are simply common sense.
- It is absolutely forbidden to consort with the local dragons. Allying oneself with them will get the offender hanged for treason.
- Shapeshifters may not use a dragon form unless it is being used to spy on the dragons themselves.
- Dracomancers are hanged on the spot.
Much of the "civilized" population consists of humans, although sapient creatures such as Shapeshifters also live in this region. They gather in cities which can range from small farming villages to huge bustling cities.
Much of Durasken's wildlife consists of dangerous predators, with dragons and Shapeshifters at the apex. There are however some herbivorous animals as well.
While deer, elk, rabbits, and such make up the primary consumers, the forests are rife with wildcats and wolves. These, however, are the least of their worries- most animals, including the wildcats and wolves- are prey to the small-sized dragons that live among the shelter of the trees. Such examples are the Illusionary Wyvern, the Shadowsong, and the Pygmy and Barb-Tailed Firedrakes. Also of note are the Shapeshifters which are found here more often than any other habitat.
Mountain Goats thrive here, as do cougars and snakes. Once again, dragons rule the area- in fact, more so than any other area. Most firedrake species are found here- Plated, Darkwing, Golden, and Adamantine Firedrakes can be found in various mountain ranges. Also living here are Hydras, Armored Wyverns, and Pyrespines, and near active volcanoes the subspecies Volcanic Pyrespines can be found.
Common here are grazing animals such as wild horses, deer, and bison. It is much like the Terran savannahs of Africa in its diversity, as one may see leopards, lions, and jackals here as well. Reptiles live here- and of course, that includes the dragons. Like in the forests, Shadowsongs make their homes here, with the same going for Hydras and Barb-Tailed Firedrakes. Also found here is the dangerous Chii-Ranu.
Even here, dragons have found ways to adapt. In different niches, three species in particular stand out- flying over the arctic seas, tirelessly, rarely landing, are the enormous Icestorm Gliders. Sticking near the coast is the much smaller species Icewing Firedrake, and inland, high up in the mountains, the Adamantine Firedrake reigns supreme. These dragons prey on varying animals- Icestorms eat primarily fish as their territories are often just open sea. Adamantines prey on moose and arctic wolves, and Icewings will alternate between fish and deer depending on where in their territories they are.
Oceans and Rivers
In the waters, what one would find is mostly fish. While one will find the Icestorm Glider soaring over the oceans up north, the rest of the sea is entirely fish and marine mammals. In the rivers a pair of dragon species roam, the Greater and Lesser Aura Guardians.