Now then, in the previous post that was the start of the Worldbuilding BlogfestI touched on the geography and climate of the land. If you haven’t read that, parts of this will come off as gibberish, for in this post, I shall be talking about the world’s flora and fauna.
Unlike Cynati, which has had every inch cultivated, much of the Zan continent is untamed. What is not grassland or desert is commonly covered in macra trees. These are the most varied plant life in colour with leaves ranging from white to red to green or brown; while their trunks are grey or the highly-prized black. They thrive particularly well in the warm, moist, mountain climate of Biry. There it is estimated of ninety thousand trees grow to an average height of three hundred feet.
The smallest ever recorded macra tree stood only a hundred feet high and fifty feet in diameter before it died off. The largest macratree is still growing and is nine hundred and fifty feet high, and nearing three hundred feet in diameter.
The next common tree is the feyt, or arrow, trees. Named so because they have long, almost impossibly light, leaves that grow from the very tip and cover most of the trunk giving a streamline appearance.
But these are the everyday plants of normal forestland. In Kamorn Ania, the only trees you’ll find are those that have spawned from the maettree. This plant sits all alone atop a hill in the middle of the death forest and is known to glow. During such time when it does not glow there is no outward sign of anything that sets off this strange phenomenon, though many do not brave the forest to find out.
From the sinister maetto the peculiar palin. This macra-like tree with its silver leaves and bark has somehow managed to grow in the desert. The Flower Canyon, to be precise. Hollow, it has been known to be the preferred birthing place of the defe-jacol, most of whom do not appear capable of speech unless having been born in the palin tree.
From trees to bushes. We have the gukoh bushes, a solely desert plant with three trunks to give it a larger chance for survival in the dry land of their chosen habitat. Sandy brown to off-white for much of the year, they are generally spotted in the annual fruiting when large, deep red berries known as gukoh conta appear. The juice of this fruit is quite tart but drinkable.
Another much-used plant is the haraki. This small bush produces long, sword-shaped leaves ranging from brown to yellow. These fibrous leaves are stripped in the creation of fishing nets and lines, bird snares, ropes, baskets, bags, and mats. Originally a desert plant, with smaller species thriving in oases and the larger, more useful plants growing in the Flower Canyon, it has since been adapted for cooler climates, reducing the need for large scale importation of wares from the Nomads.
Less liked are the poninbushes. Swamp dwelling plants found mainly in Predonia and are named so because of the attack used by the flexible tentacle-like leaves. These bushes are predacious plants, living on insects and small creatures. Most of the base is hidden deep below the ground; sometimes so deep that only the leaves stick out.
While I’m on jungle plants, there is the snap flower. It grows only in Predonia. Its ‘petals’ are as strong as jaws. Its hunting technique is simply waiting for creatures to walk into its path before striking. The stem is thick and goes deep under the surface, protecting its ‘belly’ from most animals. Considering that some of them grow large enough to devour a man whole, it is fortunate that they are quite rare.
More common is the vidde flower. This plant is almost weed-like in its ability to grow wherever it likes, although it prefers a warm climate. True to its name, it has beautiful orange ‘fur’ instead of petals. The steam is pyramid shaped and can collect water like a cup once dried out.
From here, we move on to the parea-par, or gentle virgin. It is a small, unassuming plant that flowers twice a year. Tiny white flowers appear in winter and are the only known cure for acute ahok addiction. The slightly bigger, pink flowers that appear in spring give off an alluring scent that can be smelled only a few feet from the plant. Raptereon men liken the smell to that of a woman in heat and the scent of both flowers is often used in perfumes.
Now for one to get addicted to ahok, one must find an ahoka. It is a strange, ball-like flower. It will only grow in the scorching heat of the desert and, when the tan petals are dried, the herb ahok is produced. This herb dulls reasoning, enhances the desire to do violence and gifts the user an air of indestructibility. The side effects can range from eventual blindness to a complete lack of awareness of one’s surroundings and death. Naturally, the Rogues are high users.
Less destructive to the body, is the palin coigin, wish vine. Offshoots of the Mother Vine, they originate from Japek. As they grow, they are able to communicate simple needs by either enveloping their intended audience or with gestures of their silver leaves. As the name suggests they are capable of granting wishes, as long as the wish isn’t harmful to any living thing. At certain times of the year, they produce small golden flowers, which in turn produce little silver berries. It is rumoured that, if consumed, these berries, or the juice, can enhance a creature’s libido.
From plant life to animals. Like any planet, Thardrandia has its share of insects. There are bees and flies, butterflies and moths, spiders and even shiny-shelled creatures that’ll infest your beds if you’re not careful. There are also rodents and birds and fish and a spindly creature known as the rom-jacol which lives in the jungles, eats insects and can be mistaken for a small sssstamne.
Of the bigger beasts, the most common would be the wikia. A rather small creature, its size on par with an Earth cow. The wikia’s black-coloured skin is covered in a thick, smooth coat of white fur. This coat allows them to withstand the freezing winter temperature of their homes planes in Estridorean where they are tended by the equineans.
Their delicate, somewhat spindly legs are deceptive in the fact they are actually quite strong and fast, but their barrel-shaped bodies (which come from the fact wikias gorge themselves on rich vegetation) tend to weigh them down. Both stallions and mares sport a pair of horns with is used as a primary defence, but as a herd they tend to prefer flight to fight.
The next common, and the largest of the land-based animals (not including the prewania-tofua), are the walfres. These beasts are favoured desert mounts. About as big as an Earth elephant, they roam in herds no bigger than twenty. Their peach-coloured skin is covered in a very fine coat of fur. This fur is shaggy along the throat and forelegs. A good deal of the population is sandy brown with no bright markings. While others range from a muddy shade to dusty white.
The forelegs are used for fast digging. While the fearsome tusks are used to pry up their main diet of roots, as well as fruit, leaves and grass. The tusks are sharper on bulls then cows, and are generally used for fighting for a mate and protecting the herd. Powerful back legs and agile movements make them tough prey animals, but are favoured meals for several species and the sole transport for those crossing the desert.
On the Mora Moon, the land has been dominated by the herbivorous cynaurs. They are a form of large, wingless bird. The adults are covered in big, black feathers while the young, hatch sporting grey down that’s so pale that you could almost call it white. Their eyes are swirls of various colours, which isn’t hereditary. Having six legs and a low-slung body, these creatures can carry very heavy loads and trexens frequently break them in for riding or pulling carts and carriages. They are also used for racing.
The bucks have a sharp spike on a long, dexterous tail, which is used for piercing the soft shell of unfertilised eggs – if castrated, a buck’s entire tail will be removed. Once fertilized, eggs instantly begin to harden and are rock-solid within a day. Does normally lay large clutches, the smallest ever found was about ten, she then leaves these eggs alone for the males, returning within one or two days. Any soft-shelled egg is destroyed, usually by being eaten, and the female goes about tending to the rest.