Kaskind

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The Kaskind Territory is located in a higher-than-average area of the Sestapor Swamp. The Sestapor is a humid subtropical coastal swamp that is fed by several slow-moving rivers, most notably the Kaskos. It is characterized by low-lying heavily treed areas, brackish estuaries with majestic trees growing out of them, and mossy higher ground with a variety of ferns, trees, berries, and wildlife. Most people who have not adapted to living in this sort of terrain would find it hopelessly uninhabitable, but its Aummesh residents have eked out a living here for generations as fishers and farmers, while new Ombesh colonists come following the fos boom, despite its inhospitability.

Terrain

As a coastal subtropical swamp lying along numerous estuaries, the Sestapor is very similar in appearance to the Great Dismal Swamp of southern Virginia and northern North Carolina. Almost all the land is below 10 metres (33 feet) elevation above sea level. Sinewy bands of high ground slip amongst the trees, allowing human settlement. The soil is peaty and acidic and well-saturated with groundwater. It is classified as tall pocosin, with tall trees (some as high as 30 metres) and relatively nutrient-rich soil. In parts of the swamp, peat can be harvested, dried, and used as a fuel, or sold east to other areas. There are a couple of rocky outcroppings, most notably near Kaskind itself, which allows for a more traditional Ombesh way of life there, of all the areas of the swamp.

Temperature

Humid subtropical climate is characteristic of most of the US lowland southeast along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Texas to Maryland. The Sestapor, and Ashnabis in general, fall in this climatic zone, with warm, humid summers with plentiful precipitation, cool and somewhat drier winters with very rare frost or snow, and weak seasonality overall. You will need protection from the rain, and heavy clothes in the winter months.

Fauna

The Sestapor is home to an immense variety of mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. Turtles, frogs, and salamanders, as well as a host of snakes, are eaten as food and in some cases, feared for their venom. Small mammals and rodents include squirrels, moles, bats, otters, and small primates. Larger predators include hippopotami, crocodiles, and giant varieties of many of the smaller animals that live in the area. Life in the Sestapor is extremely dangerous for the uninitiated and legends abound about the creatures that live in the swamp.

Subsistence

Due to its brackish soils, and the irregularity and scarcity of arable land, large-scale agriculture has not been practiced widely in the area of the Kaskind territory. Grain cereals are largely obtained from areas to the east along the Kaskos where barley and oats are farmed. Root crops, such as yams, grow well here in local gardens, with small surpluses sustaining communities in time of famine. A local wetland grain, a sort of swamp rice called shoggi, is occasionally farmed along riverbanks and lakes. A variety of wild berry species grow locally and provide flavor to the diet.

Similarly, animal domestication is relatively small-scale; cattle and sheep cannot survive well in the terrain. Pigs are often held by lineages or single families and raised for meat. Efforts to domesticate the local hippopotamus have met with mixed results, with magical control of the temperamental creatures the only successful strategy to date. Fowl are raised for food and eggs on a local scale, especially domesticated pheasant.

Fishing is widely practiced and practically every child in the region learns to fish from a young age, principally in the rivers and lakes but also in seacraft in the Sebor Inlet, which is well-protected. Small freshwater fish and shellfish are a regular part of the diet. The town of Kaskind itself has a fine harbour from which larger-scale fishing operations, seeking crab, monk seals, sharks, and even whales, can be launched.

Trade Commodities

Beyond the products of the land that people gather, farm, and hunt for subsistence, the Sestapor has a small but steady economy of goods produced for trade, principally with other communities in Ashnabis, but more recently, with the fos boom, throughout the Ombesh lands as well.

  • Fos: purplish root crop that grows well in these soils, newly identified as a variety of the same plant grown in the former Omban empire and prepared as a source of magical power
  • Peat: harvested and used locally as fuel, or prepared and sold upriver to points east and north
  • Leeches: harvested and occasionally eaten, or more often used medicinally, and traded to inland communities
  • Turtle: various species large and small hunted and eaten, with shell fashioned into ornaments and sold as a luxury good
  • Crab: The Sebor inlet has some of the finest crab stocks anywhere, and crabs are traded widely where they can be kept fresh
  • Shells - collected along coastlines, traded or used as commodity currency