The Wild Steppes
The Wild Steppes are the terrain that defines the northern half of Arkenthand, cut off from the south by the Forest Belt. The Steppes are flat, arid plains of tall, brown grasses where native Arkenians make their dwellings. There are a few hardy trees but they are sparse. There are no roads except the one that leads to Ozlin from the southern lands; the rest of the Steppes are crisscrossed with inconspicuous footpaths. The Ghola River runs through its western side, while the Sinja River flows through the east. The Steppes in general are more untamed and dangerous than the Verdant Hills in the south. There are a few small bands of skittish goblins but there are also more dangerous wild beasts such as hyenas, pumas, and many small herds of massive, bad-tempered aurochs who roam the plains and will charge if one unknowingly wanders too close. The native Arkenians are the masters of this land and know its secrets. Their scouts and hunters are scattered throughout the region, but most will never be seen unless they wish to reveal themselves. A bumbling, ignorant foreigner may find the natives just as dangerous as the wild beasts.
The Arkenspines – This is the infamous mountain range that wedges itself into the northern half of Arkenthand. The Arkenspines are rocky and unforgiving, and many natives consider it a rite of passage for a man to have traversed them. Two rivers, the Ghola and the Sinja, have their source in these mountains. There is not much life in the desolate Arkenspines aside from a few bands of goblins. However one must be wary of the mountain giants, who slowly lumber through the nooks and valleys looking for something small to snatch up and eat.
The Sinja River – This river flows eastwards from the Arkenspines until it empties into the eastern sea. At its mouth on the coast is the native village of Khuul, who are master fisherman and boat crafters.
Darwood – This is a small, dark forest at the northeastern tip of Arkenthand. It is very thick and most sunlight is blotted out. Horrid, unspeakable creatures are rumored to reside there, and for this reason it is considered cursed and few venture into it.
The Ghola River – This culturally significant river runs westward from the Arkenspine mountains through the center of the Wild Steppes and splashes into the western sea. Many of the old Arkenian tales feature this river; it is very important to Arkenian lore.