Ykinde: Geography & Economy

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Click here to see the full Ykindean atlas.

Ykinde as a planet is still in its youth, tectonic drifts not yet having separated the giant landmass that is its one continent. Similar to Earth in many ways, it possesses one yellow star ("Father Sun") and one grey-silver satellite ("Mother Moon"). Its axial tilt is pronounced, so that northern and southern poles are not located at magnetic south and north; if you take a look at the above map, you'll see the bias in the masses of ice in the north and south.

Most of Ykinde is fairly temperate, experiencing seasonal changes. The farther north you go, the less lush the land becomes, devolving into sparse deciduous forests, mountains with evergreens, and finally flattened tundras. There is quite a large portion of land (middle-right on the map) that consists mostly of rolling mountains, savannahs, and scattered greenery. The coasts are extensive and tend to be quite tropical, except for the northernmost stretches; nearly all of the coastline is well-forested, oftentimes a jungle, and pocked with inlets and small bays that make perfect seaports for the human traders. Both Lupos and Avans prefer to settle in rich lands with many trees; the Lupos keep their lands well-forested to encourage grazing animals, whereas the Avans will clear out patches to build their cities and to farm.

There are many island chains in the southern seas; some easily reachable by human boats, and some few even accessible by Avans on gryphon-back, but the farthest-out are either ignored or undiscovered as of yet. These islands tend to be thick with forest and wildlife, often inhospitable to human or Avan colonization, but one or two of the closest have been settled and made into peaceable places. It has been rumored that there may be Panthera tribes living on some islands, but no proof has ever been found.

Specific Regions & Racial Strongholds

The Six Lakes Region: middle-left of the map, the smattering of bodies of water surrounded by deep green. The center of the Six Lakes is the Panthera Walkers' territory, Kurajos - "Den" in their native tongue. Tirajo - "Heart" - is northwest of Kurajos and is home to the new splinter-tribe, the Panthera Hunters. The entire region is thickly forested with both deciduous and evergreen trees, seasonal in climate, and haven to many species of flora and fauna.

Lakes Thrice: far right of the map, the grouping of three larger bodies of water (does not include the lone lake south of the trio). Lakes Thrice is home to some of the fiercest and oldest Avan cities, those most involved in the Elderwar (and, in fact, one of those cities was the first attacked so many years ago). There are no Lupos territories nearby; the closest is the Kieran claim, located far west in the rocky savannas (orange area on the map).

The Greymarsh: far left of the map, the collection of lakes big and small near the northernmost incursion of the coastline. The Greymarsh is not, itself, settled by any clan or city; rather, it is a waypoint for many migratory Panthera tribes that forge the marsh rather than cut south and come near a human coastal town or go north and make their trip hundreds or thousands of miles longer. It hosts some oddities of wildlife, including predatory flora and unusually large water-creatures that have flourished off unwary nomads.

The Lake Line: longitudinal line that stretches from the north of the Graymarsh to the southernmost parts of the Six Lakes region to the northern tips of the Lakes Thrice. The Lake Line is often referred to in battle plans or trading routes; it is a guideline that separates most of the established Lupos territories from most of the older Avan cities. Lupos tend to stay north, preferring the seasonal changes and the rockier terrains; Avans stay south, preferring the warm clime and the more constant weather for their farms and orchards.

Fang Wood: the demi-peninsula on the right of the map that is on the south-western side of the Lakes Thrice. The northern half of this landmass is densely jungled, tropically warm in clime, and infested by some of the most vicious species of plant and animal outside of the Greenlands and the Greymarsh. Few settlements exist in the northern half, but in the southern half, human settlements ring the coastline, while Avan cities cover the inner grasslands and sparse forests. This part of the world is nearly untouched by the Elderwar, since the closest Lupos clan is far, far north.

The Greenlands: the larger peninsula (to the east of the Fang Woods) that is split in half by the map; one half appears on the far left, the other on the far right. The Greenlands' eastern coast (on the far left of the map) is heavily populated with human towns and ports, extending northwards until near the Greymarsh. Most of this area is thickly-forested and sparsely populated, mostly by the humans in the east and some few Lupos who do not engage in the Elderwar in the central areas. Many Avan and human maps mark "here there be myths" in this area; it is not well-known and strange things have been reported from its depths.

Father's Teeth: the expanse of brown and orange in the middle-right of the map, north and west of the Lakes Thrice. Almost entirely under Lupos control, this area is dominated by some of the clans who wage war most fiercely and persistently, the Kieran clan included. (Note: The Kierans had also held a patch of land in the Six Lakes region, but it was gifted to the Panthera refugees when they escaped human enslavement, and the clan consolidated in their larger territory.) The land itself, along its southern sweep (lighter orange on the map), consists of somewhat flat savannas and sparse forests; in the north (darker browns), the land becomes rockier, rising up into rolling mountains and sheer cliffs and deep cave systems. The flora in the south tends to be of the desert or grassland variety, while the north boasts hardy evergreens and briars.

Ykinde's Heart: the mass of green in the center of the map, including the northern part east of the Six Lakes. This is what most consider to be the center of the world; here and only here do the four races of Ykinde meet in large populations. Six Lakes, the Pantheran stronghold, in the northwest; Sister's Smile, the seasonal forests in the north-east that is home to many Lupos clans (the Tehar clan included); Taerh-jing in the southwest, a human-controlled stretch of humid forests and sunny grasslands (in which is the infamous town of Royalwood, who first enslaved the Panthera); and Celestium in the southeast, a balmy and fertile land that hosts some of the most prominent Avan cities. Outside of the border between the Lakes Thrice and Father's Teeth, where the warring is constant and devastating, it is in this region that the Elderwar is most violent and crushing. Human towns heavy-handedly enforce their neutrality and their right to trade between Lupos and Avans, both of which enact stealthy raids or pitch all-out battles along the Lake Line as it passes through this region. There are also many parties of humans sent to extinguish the northern Panthera, and many raids of Panthera attempting to free more of their kindred or exact revenge upon their captors. Ironically, this region is also host to the scant few Lupos and Avans who seek peace and an end to the Elderwar, and it is also home to some of the most advanced clans and cities.

Ykindean Economy

Ykindean economy is, and has been since the beginning of the Elderwar, controlled by humans. They are the vital link between Lupos and Avans; only in their trading ports are those two races never allowed to express hostility towards each other.

Humans have established a basic currency based upon the rarer ores and crystals that are normally used in jewelry, rather than in weaponry. While the value of the coin or gem never changes in fluctuating market patterns, its relative value from Avans to Lupos does change; this results in most Avans trading with gold and silver coins, and most Lupos trading in silver and copper coins. The same fine dagger might cost an Avan one gold and three silvers, whereas it would cost a Lupos six silvers and ten coppers. Neither Avans nor Lupos realize the vast difference in pricing, since they do not speak each other's language any longer and they are tense, at best, in one another's company.

Bartering is also a very valid system of trade all across Ykinde. Though humans often measure things in currency, they will also have a relative barter value for most of their practical wares, such as weaponry and armor. The value of the item presented for trade is determined by three things: its quality, the demand for items like it, and its recyclability (eg, how easy that item can be taken apart and its parts used as base material for other items, such as leather for armor patches or ore for new weapons). Lupos practice bartering more than Avans, who are taken with the idea of trading small bits of precious metal in exchange for knowledge or practical items - especially since Avans can mine for these forms of currency, and Lupos do not.

Humans have never traded with Panthera. Ever since the Walker tribe was enslaved, humans learned that Panthera are, actually, intelligent— and ever since the first handful of Walkers escaped, humans have attempted to capture or kill them on sight. (There are still some Pantheran slaves and captives, especially in well-fortified human trading posts, where Avans will often aid humans in fending off freedom raids.) Instead, Panthera barter with Lupos. No coins or gems are used as currency; it is a form of trade strictly based on usefulness of the item in question. When Kurajos was first established, Lupos traders would often take the worse end of a deal, if they could afford to, in order to aid the Panthera. Nowadays, with Kurajos a flourishing and well-protected village, Panthera offer their fine leatherworking and other trading items to the Lupos with less insistence on getting the better deal, paying their lupine allies back for their earlier generosity.

In summary… Panthera barter goods with Lupos, who barter goods or use currency to trade with humans, who use currency (or very rarely barter) to trade with Avans. Each race has its forte in amassing raw goods and crafting some things: Panthera are skilled leatherworkers, Lupos construct sturdy homes and also are good weaponcrafters, humans invent and create technological gadgets, and Avans are skilled weaponsmiths. All of the races are at least decent at making weaponry and armor, as well as living quarters and other basic tools to survive.

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