The Inner Sea
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Tech Code: 6
Governments: Various Independent Island States, Treaty Guaranteed Open Waters, Nomadic Boat-People
Religions: Cult of the Sea Dev, The Old Way, Ifritti Worship.
Industries and Trades:
Major Terrain: Sea
Primary Languages: Mush-Mouth, Kelorn, Low Iri, Bosk, Vashri.

Geography


Physical Geography

The Inner Sea itself is a massive saltwater lake some six hundred miles across, and is more than worthy of the name 'sea'. Up to ten times as saline as the oceans that surround Allornus in the worst seasons, the sparkling Inner Sea is unlike any other body of water in the world, and it is said that it is near impossible to truly sink beneath the surface without some weight, or swimming down. The shores of the sea stretch from the claws of the sea divh in the far west, past the saran sounds and the ragged northern coast of Taurvann, to the amari sounds and the tulza canal that joins the sea to lake akyanta, round to the bay of tulza and bastion island in the north and the sumari straits between shalagar and Camar. The pearl islands and haven island sit at the heart of the sea, with their own tiny settlements and unique, isolated wildlife.

The Inner Sea is a massive tidal lake, dozens of times larger than the largest lake elsewhere in Allornus. The Inner Sea opened during the Sundering, when the land around the basin rose up into a massive mountain range briefly, before collapsing into a crevasse that was then flooded by the monster-waves flowing over the land. The fact that the Mhulak in the Shoulders of the World were almost unaffected by this enormous event is a testament to how unnatural the events of the Sundering were, though many deepings were lost when the land rose and broke. In the years since the Inner Sea has proven quick to change its currents, and even its level, independent of the oceans around Allornus, consuming coastal communities in less than a decade on more than one occasion, before receding again, leaving the slat-choked, parched ruins to bake in the sun. Little is known of the true depth of the sea, but any sailor will gladly attest to the waters at the landless heart of the sea being almost black, even on the brightest day.

Political Geography

The single most important feature of the entire region, the Inner Sea has allowed recovery and growth in the lands on its shores that has not been enjoyed by the old Kelorn kingdoms of the south. And as a result of its sheer economic and military importance the various nations on the shores of the sea and those settlements that occupy its many islands have had to come to an accord to consider the water as much a physical domain as the land around it.

Social Geography

There are more native inhabitants of the Inner Sea than an outsider might expect, indeed the area teems with civilized life, from the communities on the sea's many tiny islands - few of which remain totally uninhabited - to the tribes of boat-people who make their homes exclusively on the water, only ever coming ashore every few years to repair the most severe damage to their vessels.

Life on the Inner Sea is simple - without government, and with little land, settlements are small, and often don't require leaders at all. Occupied islands are known to disappear below the sea when it rises, or leave docks dry when it lowers, meaning that most settlements are on larger islands with steep ascents, and the majority of the permanent structures are on high ground, with vessels dragged ashore, or out to sea, when they are needed. Hobgoblyn villages especially use only canoes cut from a single piece of wood, and thanks to the salt nothing is left in the water. Fresh water is a valuable commodity (though rain is common enough) and so great artificial lakes, or timber tanks for drinking water are common sights. The small-statured and pale boat people have no such compunctions about the water or the salt, embracing their crystal encrusted vessels, and collecting water in long swathes of oiled canvas, forming strange lakes of fabric and dancing light.

Faiths and Worship

The Inner Sea sees many forms of worship, but all of it centres around the sea. To this end, many venerate the fearsome and mysterious Sea Dev - a creature frequently sighted in the Inner Sea, known for attacking ships. Many believe it to be a divhi, the very spirit of the Inner Sea, while others believe it to be some alien creature trapped here during the Sundering. Whatever is true, it seems that the communities that send flotillas tiny floating shrines full of candles, and offer prayers and devotion to the creature, seem not to suffer from its attacks (or else no survivors remain to report such attacks).

Alongside worship of the Sea Dev, the Old Way is strong here, as is the worship of the Hobgoblyn patron, the ifritti Molgoln, Olna, and Kez. No one is entirely sure what the boat-men venerate, because they refuse to name their divhi, and generally seem to fear it, but their shrines and idols depict a variety of terrible, multi-limbed creatures, and it is certain that they worship more out of fear, and a desire to placate the creature than any boon it grants them. Some have speculated that they fled to the Inner Sea from their home to escape this creature, having angered it, but the boat-men remain tight lipped on the subject.

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History


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People


Denizens of the Inner Sea

Though it lacks space and resources, the Inner Sea itself is a surprisingly populous region. Aside from the foreign ships that ply its waters daily, carrying cargo and people from all of the nations with a border on the sea, the Inner Sea has two distinct native peoples. The first are those living in small fishing communities on the various free islands. While they often fall victim to the predations of nearby states, and many are havens for pirates and smugglers, these small communities manage to be almost self-sufficient, living off the bounty of the sea. Their residents rely heavily on old ships for building materials, and make their living making repairs and restocking passing vessels, and fishing their fertile coasts. Life is often hard, but these people are free, with many villages needing no formal leader at all, and others deferring to the most senior or influential denizens as informal leaders. Though easy prey for piracy they have little enough that only the most desperate raiders would bother with such places. Races are usually mixed, but hobgoblyns especially enjoy the freedom of such settlements, with kelorn landsmen a close second in population. Kenu and Orkun, as a rule, dislike the water, and goblyns tend to prefer larger communities, and eschew the solitude and exposure of such small communities, though many will be found scattered amongst settlements of men or hobs. To reflect the cultural mix of the region a marine trader's tongue called mush-mouth has taken root here. This ugly and chaotic mix of Iri, Bosk, and Kelorn gives both the denizens of the sea, and those that ply their trade on it, something akin to a common culture.

The second key group are the boat people. Closely resembling Irians, though of much smaller stature, and speaking an archaic form of Low Iri, these aquatic nomads live nearly their entire lives on the sea, in tethered barge communities, fishing and trading with the tiny free ports of the region. Expert swimmers, and fervent worshippers of the fearful Sea Dev, these mysterious people do not welcome strangers - indeed no outsider may set foot on their barges, and their language prevents conversation on more than a basic level - but their crude flotillas are a common sight, clustered together on the water like a floating township, bustling with life. They are easily the finest swimmers on the Inner Sea, being seemingly born to it, and the crab-shells and sea-bird feathers with which they adorn their every possession are iconic.

Marine Fauna

The Inner Sea has a diverse, and unique population of creatures, unlike any sea or lake on Allornus. Long, narrow eels with blue-black skin circle the shallows, eating prawns and small, bright red crabs, while large morays patrol the depths further out. Pike and lizardfish are common further out, as are deep-water crayfish. Flying fish are a common sight, glittering and silvery in a ship's wake, while catsharks patrol the colourful coral reefs for schools of herring and sardines. Dugong bask on the beaches, only to flee for the deeps when spotted by over-curious strider crabs. Anchovies are considered a salty delicacy in many a coastal village, and colourful locahes and carp share nets with the more desirable trevally and pewter snapper. Mullet are the most common catch in the region, and usually fishermen keep these for themselves, and while some have come to also love the hideous monkfish, others consider it a sign of great fortune, and eat it immediately - goblyns are especially fond of these hideous feasts. While shellfish are few in the sea proper, sea-snails are almost epidemic in some regions, and they only become more fantastic in form and colour the deeper a diver ventures.

The Sea Dev

Not much is known of the creature known as the Sea Dev, but unlike many ancient and mythic monsters of the world, there are none foolish enough to claim that it is the product of myth, or an amalgamation of many lesser dangers, because so many have sighted the monster as they pass the Inner Sea. This enormous creature, with a fleshy beak, is said to be able to create a burning cloud from its terrible flukes, and easily crush a ship in its grasp. While sightings of the creature are common enough, survivors of its attacks are rare indeed.

The Sea Life


Sailors Faiths and Tales

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Vessels of the Inner Sea

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Life on the Waves

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Rule of the Waters


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Sea Folk Settlements


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Trade Over the Sea


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Today On The Inland Sea…


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The Domains of the Inner Sea Basin
The Taurvann, Cal Manar, Amir, Bakkar, Kel Wacuite, Kord, Taal, Lodel, The Inner Sea, Kel Saratose, The Mhul Pont, The Goblynfells, Camar, The Crooked Plains
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