Before the , a primeval temperate forest covered the lands of western Atelon from the arc formed by the foothills of the Schodni and Darjevka Mountains to the coast and north to the Dunafolda River valley. Like any climax forest, the forest floor was dark and generally devoid of vegetation. The canopy was formed by mature, fernlike plants, with a straight branchless trunk reaching to a height of 30 meters. At maturity, a fern's trunk was 1 meter in diameter at the base, tapering slightly to its canopy. The canopy was made up of fronds extending from the crown of the fern in all directions for a distance of several meters. The fronds were greenish black and the trunk was a reddish brown in color. The death or destruction of a fern would open up the forest floor and permit the growth of low broadleaf shrubs with knife sharp edges. These would stunt and then shrink back as ferns gradually reclaimed the light space.
The forest was cleared as settlements were established during wars. Following the Great Revolt, the Dumerai state of Great Road aggressively cleared and settled the forest lands on its eastern frontier, shrinking the forest which is now known as the Banakur to its current size.
Geography of the Banakur
The Banakur Forest is a wild and rugged area. The Vari River Valley, which runs through it is narrow and rimmed with bluffs.
In the western part of Gens Ritsar, the land falls sharply from the Droughkos Ridge into a valley before leveling out into the Chirpali Plain. The land drops steeply again into the Vari River Valley and then climbs up the east bank of the Vari into sharply broken lands that gradually transition to rolling hills near the forest’s eastern edge.
This continues through Gens Magira as far north as the Dunsta River. Within Magira, the Vari River Valley narrows and the bluffs become more steep. The land opens up at the confluence of the Bratwas and Dobavar Rivers and then resumes its steep, narrow character as far north as the Dunsta River.
Beyond the Dunsta, in the Gens Tamroti lands, the character of the landscape changes dramatically. The Vari Valley opens up and the bluffs bordering it drop down to a few dozen meters above the valley floor. To the east and the west, the hill country recedes and is gently and easily traversed throughout.. To the west, the land continues to be hilly and broken, but the relief is less extreme. The Dunsta valley in particular is open and gentle as it climbs toward the Schodni Mountains.
The forest itself engulfs the lands to its center. In some places, the forest is less than 60 km wide, in others, more than 150 km. In all cases, the forest floor is open but dark, gloomy and foreboding. In the east, the forest climbs up to the hills of the UCS, in the west to the Gornarod lands of Jerhez Working and Gradec Working.
Great Road is a level, gently rolling area, with a broad lowland area in the west that increases in elevation all the way to the Barkov River Valley. Although the lands have generally been cleared, the arc of the Banakur Forest fringe still contains intermittent woodlots and forest extensions. Most of the less desirable land west of Abarsha and Melanbac is still forested.
To the South are the Schodni Mountains, and though most of the Banakur is flat lowlands, its southern edge climbs high up the hillsides.
The Banakur Genslands are dominated by the Vari River, which flows through the middle of the lowlands they occupy. Many tributaries flow out of the Schodnis and the western hills to feed the Vari. Many other tributaries flow from the east, out of the well watered plains of the Great Road and Southwest Frontier Councilates.
From north to south, the main tributaries of the Vari in the Banakur Forest are:
The Linku is a long, gentle waterway, making its way for 270 km along Great Road Councilate's southern border. It is little used for traffic because of the sparseness of settlement in the area. West of Abarsha, the Linku plunges into the Banakur, through lands occupied by and defended by Gens Tamroti of D'Mak.
History of the Banakur
Portions of the Banakur along the upper Vari River were also cleared before the Time of Chaos. Much of the forest has regrown, but the lands on the west side of the Vari are currently occupied by the surviving of the D'Mak, who graze the cleared lands with their herds.
Peoples of the Banakur
Roads and River Crossings Border Posts and Military Camps
The Gradec Working maintains a trading fort, named Fort Tamroti, on the Dunsta, at the edge of the Banakur Forest. There is a permanent L’npei camp near the Fort, with a population of fewer than 1,000 occupants. Merchants from Gradec travel down the Dunsta to Tamroti to trade Gornarod metal objects for leather and wooden goods. There are no roads in the Banakur Genslands, so from Tamroti, independent traders and peddlers make their way to the frontier settlements on the eastern edge of the forest and up the Vari and its tributaries
Gradec also has 8 travelers' stations along the Dunsta River. These stations are roughly 40 km apart and extend through the Banakur Forest to the edge of Tamroti lands. They are similar in design to the stations along the Gornarod Track except that each has a protected dock for the watercraft used by merchants on the Tamroti Trade Route. Gradec also maintains a major base at the forest’s edge, just below the junction of the Risdar River with the Dunsta River. This is also like a travelers’ station in design but much larger.
The Banakur Forest reaches to the eastern fringe of Jerhez but thins quickly into isolated stands and woodlots.
Jerhez also maintains a few posts along the Banakur fringe to discourage raiders.
The Selka Fifth Rhyde patrols deep into the Banakur Forest from the border of Selka. They raid settlements, protect the Banakur Gens from Dumerai raiders and serve as a picket line to provide early warning of substantial Dumerai military incursions.
The Gens of the Banakur Forest are the sole surviving L’npei Gens of the D'Mak. When L’npei arrived at the Vari River, the forest had been cleared as far as the Chirpali Plain. The Gens of Tamroti, Magira and Ritsar settled along the river and allowed the forest to grow back in the hill country to the west.
Later, as M'Maoulek's Wars began to engulf D'Mak, the Gens of the Vari River abandoned their pastures on the eastern bank of the river and the forest returned there as well. Eventually the Tamroti also abandoned their pastures on their northern border with Gens Tripura and allowed the forest to grow back. This further increased their isolation from 's destruction.
At the present, the Banakur Forest entirely surrounds the Genslands and is inhabited by .
Tamroti is the northernmost of the three Banakur Forest Gens, encompassing 14,600 km² in the upper part of the wide valley of the Vari. Tamroti is geographically part of the open lowlands occupied by the Rapani but is separated by the barrier of the Banakur.
Tamroti’s administrative center, Kemtarot is located on the Vari, on the north bank of the Dunsta River. It has 5,840 inhabitants, but is little more than a permanent campground, surrounding a few poor structures of wood and mudbrick.
A few small villages are scattered along the herding routes, providing bare necessities and simple entertainments for the nomadic bands. As with the other civilized L'npei, about 15% of the population live in the Brooding Camps. Among the Banakur Gens, however, these camps also move from year to year. Another 3% live in the permanent settlements.
-Tamroti - 292,000
Great Road Councilate
The Council State of Great Road borders the Banakur Forest and is among the most recently settled. Great Road is one of the larger states, with an area of 119,800 km². The great majority of the land is rolling hill country, but about one-fifth is river valley, primarily in the west. The lands along the Banakur fringe are smallholdings, engaged in subsistence farming.
Great Road is rectangular in shape, bounded on the north by the Tumosura, on the west by the Vari, on the south by the Linku and the Barkov on the east. Its eastern half is in the Transition Zone and the west is in the Periphery Zone.
Great Road has a population of 4,786,000, of which 310,000 live in the major cities. Another 150,000 live in smaller cities and large towns.
When the United Councilate States were formed, the lands south of the Tumosura River were formed into the Council State of Great Road, although at the time it was an unsettled frontier province. In those days, the only civilized place in Great Road was its capital of Anorah, far to the east on the Barkov River. From there, military bases followed the path of the Great Road west to Nagrepec. There, on the east bank of the Vari, Nagrepec guarded the ancient crossing point. Settlements followed the military bases and spread north, in the relative security of the lands between the Road and the Tumosura
Over time, forces secured much of the lands between the Great Road and Linku River. As lands were settled, the Banakur Forest shrank. In current times, Great Road Councilate is settled and civilized as far west as a line running from Melanbac to Solisova. West of there, settlement thins. Nagrepec is still primarily a military base, as is Abarsha that guards the Linku and marks the edge of security in the south.
West of Abarsha, the Linku River plunges into the Banakur Forest, through lands occupied by and defended by Gens Tamroti. The forest margin is active as a settlement area, supported by financial and material support from the Federal Council. Great Road establishes and supports military colonies all along the forest’s edge. Settlement is opposed by the three Banakur Gens, their Rapani Allies, war bands from and merchant interests in the Gornarod Working of Gradec. There is constant military conflict along the western and southern borders of Great Road.
Although the lands have generally been cleared, the arc of the Banakur Forest fringe still contains intermittent woodlots and forest extensions.
The line of settlement in Great Road runs along the Linku to the Banakur, then along the edge of the forest about 123 km, then across to the eastern bank of the Parduva River, filling in the lands between it and the Tumosura. There are scattered settlements along the south bank of the Tumosura River and along the Great Road from the Parduva River to Nagrepec.
Because the attenuates the power of the when he fights on the margins of Keshdumah lands, Power Armor equipped warriors are joined by regular quality fighters who are rifle armed and trained to individual action, and by low quality close combat units armed with edged weapons, who are treated by the regulars as scum, little better than butchers. Techno-Warriors do not venture into the Banakur or patrol the Vari River. They remain in reserve to drive off major incursions by L’npei and Rapani armies. Consequently, the settlements inside the Banakur often hire mercenary companies, such as the Dumah Rangers to patrol the forest and intercept raiders.
Abarsha (population 23,930) is a fortified military base and administrative center for settlement on the Banakur fringe. It is situated on the west bank of the Gura River and the north bank of the Linku, on a protected bluff line, overlooking the Linku Valley. Abarsha sits less than 55 km from the forest edge and 185 km, as the crow flies, to the administrative town of Kemtarot, in the heart of the forest. Three Keshdumah Task Forces are stationed at Abarsha.
The line of settlement in Great Road runs along the Linku to the Banakur, then along the edge of the forest about 123 km, then across to the eastern bank of the Parduva River, filling in the lands between it and the Tumosura. There are scattered settlements along the south bank of the Tumosura River and along the Great Road from the Parduva River to Nagrapec.