Mountain Wasteland of the Tauri
Built long ago by slow volcanic action, they are covered in rich topsoil that supports a thriving ecology of plant- and meat-eaters. The rough highlands have frequent rains (strong on the fringes, but gentle towards the interior), and as a result, the place is covered in small streams and lakes, though some of which are little more than wide ponds over a thick layer of mud. Their irregular configuration (some flat and others like chips of raw crystal) means that most lakes are permanent, although some can be miles across. Permanent ones have populations of fish, aquatic plants, and even a resident monster or two. Dragons also stake their own claims in these remote regions, generally driving away any other creatures they encounter.
The Beast Shards are moderately rich in gold and silver, as well as gemstones of low value though high quality (particularly obsidian and moonstone). Occasional earthquakes beset the region, though few are large enough to cause any major damage, and their frequency seems to decrease when The Forgotten God is placated. Legends place an ancient realm of reptiles having once held sway over the mountains, and fatal curses are said to follow those who disturb ancient ruins found deep in remote valleys.
At the center of the Beast Shards are several tall mountains that jut violently upwards, towering over the others of the region. Known as The Five Princes, they are the center of The Tauri kingdom. To the west lie several rough volcanic peaks and stretches of rough, forested ridges and peaks that remain barely held by humans. Scattered tribes of humanoids, demi-humans and powerful Drahken are also known to reside throughout the region.
A vast wilderness, the Beast Shards are nearly impossible to cross, and adventurous explorers have tried numerous times. Only the Borderland Trail leading from Brightwater – City of Coins through The Lordship of Sabre River and east into Westwind – The Emerald Realm allows trade caravans to traverse the otherwise trackless heights. The portions near the coastlands to the west have light settlement, in the three realms of Cygnus – The Swan Kingdom, The Mark – Land of the Iron Dragon and the Barony of Redstone, but even these represent a small portion of the mountains, and do not delve too deeply up the valleys.
Before the era known as “The Great Migrations”, the Beast Shards were a mainly desolate region of mountains and valleys populated by scattered tribes of Ninnellen worshiping primitive deities of earth and sky. The rough region received little to no notice for centuries, and during the rise of Boranik culture on Argoth, was largely considered worthless and remained isolated.
The Migration Wars of 178 TR began several generations of exploration and colonization, that led to the first outsiders taking an interest in the largely untouched resources of the region. By the early 300s TR, interest in the region began with the establishment of the fishing villages along the coasts and mining communities among the northern hills.
The fall and re-establishment of the Coranik Empire brought a new threat to the region; orcs and tauri. [[: the-tauri]] of the Beast Shards, long a quiet force of peace in the remote valleys of the Trackless Heights, soon became aggressive and hostile. Known today as The Hateful Wars, hordes of orcs, goblins and Tauri began open war against the rising tide of humanity, and from 956 TR a series of wars, raids and invasions struck at the Borderlands, laying waste to isolated settlements and fortified villages alike. The Hateful Wars came to something of an end with the full-scale invasion of The Mark – Land of the Iron Dragon in 1042 TR by a numberless horde of humanoid tribes from the depths of the Beast Shards, that shattered The Mark and its ally Cygnus – The Swan Kingdom. The horrendous losses among the invading tribes, as well as evil forces from the Barony of Redstone halted their actions further, but left an indelible stain of war on the region. In time, the humanoids will recover, and once more press their attacks on the remaining realms of civilization in the Beast Shards.