The River Basin
The northern expanses of the Hundred Kingdoms are dominated by the Maruto River, at this point finishing its long twisting journey from the far east all the way to the Yellow River. Several miles wide at some points, the slow flowing river brings rich soil and is a very reliable trade route this far north. The various City-States and Kingdoms mostly kept in check by the Guild, who keep the tarrifs and tolls that so plague the southern stretches of the river and its many tributaries from reaching a critical mass. Even so, no few cities that abut the river make a hefty sum of money off of river traffic.
Many of the states in this part of the Hundred Kingdoms are slightly more stable, and have developed some modicum of both civilization and military discipline. This results in median sized states, large wars as their impressive armies clash with one another, and a generally predictable cycle of life. The exceptions include the City Of Delen, and the Theocracy Of Oldun. Of the less stable states, the strongest are likely the trade-city of Hilos? or the fertile farmlands of Terisia?. Most suspect these two powers to eventually end up at each others throats, unless they find their attention drawn by their mutual neighbor Madaan. Other states such as Freehold? are still recovering from the wars of a generation ago, while places like Timber Gap? deal with widespread insurrection and peasant uprisings.
Most of the smaller townships or villages in the northern Hundred Kingdoms have long since been claimed by some larger state or another, but a few hold on to their independence. The largest collective of these, the Sarine River Valley, avoids notice largely because of its isolation, while small villages like Bourbon? just hide in isolated bends of the River. Many more villages are functionally independent of their states, paying taxes and sending grain to distant masters but otherwise having little or no relationship at all with their "masters". Then there are the Hill Folk.
The northern tip of the Hundred Kingdoms is dominated by long rolling plains, hills, and extensive forests that cover much of the deep wilderness inhabited only by the Hill Folk. The hills tend to be rich in Iron, Copper, and a fair source of Silver while the forests are often filled with ancient Oaks - some thousands of years old! The winters during the Season of Water tend to be mild, with the occasional heavy snowfall, while the growing season is long and often allows two or even three harvests.
Notable to the region is Mist Island, the seat of the Thousand Rivers Court?. Home to the various Gods and Goddesses that lay reign over the various Rivers and Waterways of the East, the Court holds great sway throughout the entire Scavenger Lands. The Emerald Waters Queen?, in particular, holds especial importance to the people of the Hundred Kingdoms as shs is the lady of the Maruto.
- The River Carnival, a 400 year old tradition of mystery and wonder, left Great Forks a few weeks ago and has just begun its season-long trek down the Maruto and through the Hundred Kingdoms. A trip that is only made every 20 years or so, and that takes many years to move through the entire region, the arrival of the Goddess Mananine and her carnival are eagerly awaited throughout much of the area.
- The Guild, and three independent cities up and down the Maruto have offered substantial rewards (amounting to several talents of silver) for the head of a notorious thief and ruffian known as the Jade Knife. Responcible for everything from kidnapping a Guild Factor (and escaping after getting the ransom) to the brazen daylight theft of the King of Hilos crown (while the king was wearing it...in court). Believed to be one of the Fae; extremely dangerous.
- The remnants of the Insurrection in Timber Gap, following the Massacre a few months ago that broke the most recent uprising against the Prince, have largely scattered and broken apart. Yet most stories hold that the leaders of the Rebellion managed to escape alive from the battlefield, and as long as they remain at large further bloodshed seems inevitable in the kingdom.