Wild and untamed, the vast region south and east of the Steadfast, stretching from the coast of the ocean to the edge of Seshar, is known as Matheunis. Some call it the Cold Desert. For the most part, it's a dry land of stone and sparse vegetation. Large black carrion birds fly overhead, looking for creatures that have strayed too far from safety in this realm of little sustenance.
Over the last fifty years or so, many folk from the Steadfast have moved south to villages free of empires and kings. Of course, this growth has influenced some rulers, such as the Empress of Pytharon, to begin to look southward with interest.
Free of large cities other than Nihliesh, Matheunis is dotted with isolated aldeia that keep to themselves almost to the point of xenophobia. The people of the land are herders and subsistence farmers. One of the most common types of produce raised is ice candles, a melon-like fruit that grows better in cold temperatures rather than warm.
Matheunis is also the domain of many dangerous beasts and marauding abhuman tribes, particularly margr and murden. For reasons unknown, the region has far more than its share of mutants.
One thing that many Matheunis folk share is a fascination with drakka, insects that grow to 1 foot in length. Drakka are similar to bluebottle flies but a bit more intelligent, and they can be captured and domesticated as pets. Some people use drakka to help herd the brown-wooled umlan goats or as watch animals trained to alert their masters to signs of trouble spied from on high.
Other Points of Interest
• The Fields of Frozen Flowers
• The Southern Wall
The Hundred-Year Flood:
Washing down out of the highlands to the west, a flash flood has swept through the lowlands, devouring entire villages. People are stranded and in need of rescue, or at least food and medicine.
A war machine from days long past has reactivated and roams the countryside, killing everything it finds. Leaders of local villages have put out a call from anyone who can stop its reign of destruction, offering all manner of rewards.
A group of bandits raided a wealthy village of its valuables, but then they turned on one another. A few bandits survived, but laden with so much loot, separated and alone,they reportedly all came to lonely ends. The valuables now lie somewhere in the desert, waiting to be found by intrepid explorers who can return them to their proper owners or claim the riches for their own.
The Warming Column:
A tall, beautifully decorated column of sophisticated ceramics stands alone in the desert, radiating a comfortable heat. Travelers who know of it use it as a familiar waypoint at which to make camp at night.
The Black Pool:
A small black pond in the eastern part of the desolate landscape is fed by no noticeable source. Its waters are poisonous to drink, but if a creature is immersed in the dark pool, it emerges glazed in a protective coating that provides 3 Armor. However, the coating feeds on the flesh of the creature, dealing 1 point of damage per round.
A plant that grows sporadically throughout Matheunis can be used as a powerful narcotic with extraordinary addictive qualities. Those under its influence experience similar hallucinations of a strange land with three moons in the sky, inhabited by odd avian creatures.