Zunae is another of the Great Lands of Cerenth. Zunae is the homeland of the Orcs and according to legend, the origin of the Stunted Peoples – the Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings. Zunae is bounded by the Ever-Shifting Sands in the East, the Ir’ina Sea in the North, the Nalen Ocean in the West, and in the South, by the Southern Passage.
Like Gwalynn, Zunae’s size creates vast differences in climate, from the rainy tropics of the Palaset Islands to the freezing waters of the Ice Straits.
In the northwest, split like a vast island from the the bulk of Zunae are the lands where is found the Ipelor Republic. It in turn is split in the northward parts into two great fingers reaching out to sea. The western of these is the Rothine Peninsula, a tropical lowland where is found the city which shares its name. The eastern peninsula is the Tiale Heights, a hilly spine surrounded by rainforest. South of these peninsulas are found the Heye Peaks, a smallish mountain range from which originates the River Eldusia which feeds into the Nalen Ocean at the city of Dennril. Also originating in the Heye Peaks is the River Orelia whose waters empty into the Strait of Ipelor, the waterway which separates Ipelor from the rest of Zunae.
Across the strait to the South, the rest of Zunae has two principal defining features: the Elohoi Mountains east of the great Lake Faros, and that which is not the Elohoi Mountains, to the west of the lake.
West of Lake Faros
That which is not are the lands stretching southwest around the Southern Range, smaller cousins of the Elohoi. Immediately west of Lake Faros are the Athia Foothills, gently rolling slopes that fall away from the Southern Range and push the Athia River in a loop to the south before it turns north to empty into the ocean near Perale. Further down the coast to the southwest is the great Linshar Bog, a vast conglomeration of salty marsh and palms that stretches a score of leagues from the coast proper to the brackish lake that marks its inland border in the southeast. Southwest of the bog and west of the end of the Southern Range is a cold, rocky plain capped in the west by the tumbled hills of the Aran Moors, after which the land slopes down to a near-waste at the Ice Straits where the Southern Passage crosses into the Nalen Ocean amid the dangers of the wayward ice leviathans which break off from the Endless Ice just a few leagues to the south.
Lake Faros and Points East
Returning to the shores of Lake Faros, one finds the River Faros which cascades through a cut in the hilly south and swiftly makes its way to the Bay of Juma in the Southern Passage near Iburu. Just north of the lake, from which come its sources, the West Faros and East Faros, the Elohoi Mountains rise like a vast, impenetrable wall surrounded by a shadowy moat of trees, the Elohoi Darkwood. These peaks stretch well over a thousand miles to the east, slowly dwindling to a tail as it reaches the Ever-Shifting Sands.
On the northern side of the mountains is for the most part a vast coastal plain. From the western third of the range drains the Amari River, emptying into the Strait of Ipelor exactly opposite of the River Orelia. Further east is the Tamirat River (called the Berde before the Orcish conquest), which terminates in the Gulf of Renna. Leagues to the west is the River Arend, which also runs swiftly down into the waters of the Gulf. To the east of the Arend is a tropical forest, the trees of which are prized by the Elohoi for trade with foreigners. The forest terminates in sandy marshes. Despite the abundance of water, the land grows too close to the Ever-Shifting Sands for such plants to take hold.
South of the Elohoi Mountains is another vast coastal plain divided by only one major river, a torrential flow formed by the runoff of half the range or more, the Darkflood. Since the end of the Shadow Era, these lands have slowly become more and more desolate, and are now only populated by a few scattered Elohoi villages, unaware of the world.
Though separate from the mainland, the tropical archipelago of the Palaset Islands are among the lands of Zunae. This multitude of islands which stretch north toward the Ir’ina Sea and Ralassa from the Gulf of Renna are split among and squabbled over by the realms of Elohos and Ipelor.
Zunae was long home to the Thousand Shires, a vast network of squabbling kingdoms, duchies, and principalities that fought for (and never won) control of the lands. The Orcs put an end to this in the last few score of years, leaving three major realms in possession of the land.
- In the west of Zunae, encompassing most of the Elohoi Mountains and the lands south of the Strait of Ipelor is the Tiadrine Hegemony.
- West of the Hegemony on the plains approaching the Ever-Shifting Sands and occupying the eastern Palaset Islands is the barbarous land of Elohos.
- Occupying all the lands north of the Strait of Ipelor and the Western Palaset Islands is Ipelor, a decaying human Republic.