Harndonian Geography

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Human Geography

Population of Harndon (2017 Census): 52,323,742
This figure is split up into 2 distinct groups

First, there are the city-dwellers. They are your regular(ish), run-of-the-mill citizens. The vast majority of the immigrant population are part of this figure, though some do adopt the old ways. Many live in Quechkhonia, but others live in towns, cities and villages throughout Harndon. They are influenced by the old ways of living, and do not forget their roots, but tend to be the most open to adapting the old ways to fit whatever circumstances they may find themselves in. These make up a smallish wedge of 13% of the population.

Second, there are the tribespeople who keep to the old ways: migratory descendants of the ancient tribes, and are by far the majority, at 87% of the overall population. Tribal unts move throughout the country, tending to stay within a certain region (often ancient grounds once belonging to their tribe, though some range far further than that.) Travel is on foot, Wyvern-back or by Ashkelun, a strange horse-like animal that is native to Harndonia's thick forests. These Harndonians have kept pace with technological and social advancement by having portable labs, and equipment to set up shrines at holy sites. Lessons are done interactively, in small groups, both on the move and when the tribal unit settles down for the night/a few days. Most stop for the duration of the winter, though this often depends on the particular tribe, location or situation. Due to the fragile nature of the Harndonian environment, each area is only able to sustain a tribal unit for a certain length of time before it needs to move on; otherwise, serious (and often irreversible) damage can be done to the ecological landscape and its constituent networks. They tend to keep their company within their tribal units and tribes, but they have a very strict code of of hospitality (long-embedded in the druidic belief system of Guvar), which means that if someone - be they a tourist, a settled Harndonian, or a member of their own or another tribe - approaches them, they will warm-heartedly greet them, and may strong-arm them into taking a tea break.
Characteristsics
The Harndonian race tends to be small and slim in build, with the tendency to be lithe rather than bulky. Their skin tones are light due to the lack of light, with face shapes and hair colours aligning with that of the native Siberian tribes. Harndonians have a distinct sense of humour, which relies on backhanded compliments and biting sarcasm, with lashings of the most intense surrealism. This can make Harndonian comedy entirely incomprehensible to other nations and cultures.

Tribes and Tribal Units

As the large population of the tribes (especially because of historical merging) is too great for any local environment to sustain, each tribe splits off into smaller groups of varying sizes (though rarely larger than a couple of hundred to a thousand), known as tribal units. The number and sizes of these can fluctuate throughout the year, with regular meetings and coalescences between tribal units (including between those of different tribes). It is a rare event for a whole tribe to gather in one place; such times are held as great festivals of culture and fellowship.

The age of tribal holdings have long since passed, so although many tribal units stick close to their anscestral lands, others move throughout the country, meeting with units from other tribes more often than from their own.

Physical Geography

Maps

Climate

Trewartha Climate Classification: Dolk
(Temperate Oceanic; the hottest month classed as 'mild' - mean temperatures of 10 to 17.9 °C; the coldest month classed as 'cool' - mean temperatures of 0.1 to 9.9 °C.)

Harndon's climate is mainly affected by the meeting of three systems: oceanic; polar; and continental, with most of the year spent under weak high and weak low pressure systems. The seasons in Harndon all seem to blur together, the only real difference being temperature. Winter, however, is relatively mild, at least in comparison to similar areas under continental conditions, and often produces freezing fog. Snowfall in the winter is limited in extent, even if it occurs on a relatively high proportion of days.

Aside from the seasonal variation, Harndon tends to have 3 main weather types: fog (or freezing fog in earlier spring, later autumn and throughout winter); fine drizzle; and hazy sunshine. It is rare for the Harndonian region to be dry, but when it is, it is normally due to the stronger influence of cold air from the north, meaning cooler, hazy conditions. Harndon spends the vast majority of its time shrouded in mist and low-level stratus and stratocumulus clouds/fog, as the air is so laden with moisture (but often under the influence of weak higher pressures borne from the constant cooling of southwesterly oceanic winds by ocean currents drawn from the north polar region), with predominant weather patterns caused by relatively gentle winds over cool waters from the North and West, most of their strength taken out by the landmasses at higher latitudes. Actual total rainfall itself is not particularly large, but the amount of time spent under fog and drizzle can amount to over 300 days depending on region, with some areas recieving as many as 335 days under fog and precipitation.

As a result of the amount of fog and lack of direct sunlight, the forest that covers the majority of Harndon is classed as Temperate Rainforest or, alternatively, cool temperate cloud forest. This spreads far inland, over the plateau, to the mountain ranges that draw down across Harndon and rim the edges, where the influence of the Nameu Lake inland sea takes over and - combined with the effects of the widespread groundwater - continues to spread moisture and cool air funnelled through valleys and drawn down from the plateaus.

Average annual weather (with minimal and maximal temperature ranges) in Quechkhonia:
Average annual weather for Harndon at sea level, with minimal and maximal temperature ranges. Here, "precipitation days" include days spent under fine drizzle/thick fog as well as more "proper" precipitation.

Geology

Harndonian bedrock is entirely made up of harder igneous rock (such as granite, basalts and diorites), or metamorphic rocks resulting in a very "soft" water as the water supply (a victory for the many tea drinkers in Harndon). There is a large variation and concentration of metamorphic rock within the west of Harndon, yielding a wide range marble types within various deposits in the western Polosi Mountains. Soil types are variable upon the location, but tend towards the acidic, due to the combined influence of bedrock types; high water content of the soil; reduced solar radiation; and the low rates of decomposition and mineralisation. Humus and peat very often form the upper soil layer.

Harndon is rarely flat, consisting mainly of hilly forest, often moving more to swamp closer to the valley floor; noteable exceptions include the marshy tundra of the northeastern coastline. Two plateaus dominate the Harndonian topological and geological landscape - The Quozh (named after the tribal confederation that historically inhabited it) and Harndonian Plateaus. Contary to what their name suggests, both plateaus are far from flat, with undulating valleys crossing the landscape, with larger valleys and mountain ranges dotted around. Closer towards the centre are larger hills and forested low alpine areas, with fjords within some of the valleys. Along the spine of Harndon is situated the Polosi Mountains, with foothills rolling out across the rest of the width of the country. Within the valleys and slopes of this region lies more moderate alpine flora that would not survive Harndonian conditions, if it weren't for the shelter of the mountains from the coldest airs.

Er Aikengutolaiir; the famed quartzite sandstone columns within the Polosi Vale.

The Nameu Lake is a large inland sea within the centre of the Polosi mountains, and was thought to be formed from a mixture of plate movement, erosion, and a cataclysmic eruption of a long-dead supervolcano that now lies beneath the lake. Due to Harndon not being near any active plate boundaries, any volcanoes that previously existed are no longer alive, and earthquakes are very rare. In the lower-lying lands to the south of Nameu (the Polosi Vale), large columns of quartzite sandstone rise from the ground, known as Er Aikengutolaiir (The Emerald Shards). Some of these peaks can excede 300m from base to tip.

Because of the historic nature of Harndonian geology, the Polosi mountain range and the surrounding plateau is home to a range of Nickel-Copper; W-Sn (Tungsten-Tin); Cu-Au (Copper-Gold); Cu-Mo (Copper-Molybdenum); Sb-Hg (Antimony-Mercury); Ag-Pb-Zn-Cu (Silver-Lead-Zinc-Copper); REE (Rare-earth_element#List Rare Earth Elements); and PGE-Chromium (PGE - Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium, Ruthenium, Osmium, Iridium) deposits. Some of the most ancient swamps held within the forested hill valleys that cover much of Harndon contain Aluminium deposits.

Ecology

Native Flora

Harndon is very heavily forested, with a large range of cold-resistant flora sheltering beneath the trees. Many of these are unique to Harndon. Within valley floors, and atop some sections of plateau, the forest floor is often marshy/peat bog terrain. These swamplands have their own range of flora and fauna that are adapted to these conditions.

The floral environment within Harndon can be easily compared to celtic forests and rainforests (especially the deciduous trees) and temperate cloudforests.

Inosculation is common throughout the Harndonian forests due to the soil and bedrock conditions, close-packed nature of many of the trees and shrubs that involves.

Contrary to popular belief, the Harndonian region is not really a true wilderness: migrating tribespeople have been moulding the landscape for millenia. This can be through grazing of certain plants over others, and selective breeding and propogation of wild plants, meaning that along historical migration routes especially, there is a more abundant range of wild fauna that are actively useful to the tribes, especially forage for human food.

There are a few noteable additions (the most famous/useful of which are listed below). Some of these have been included due to plants not being mentioned in the above articles; or that the conditions have allowed these plants to grow naturally, have or that some of these plants are native only to Harndon.

Wild Rice

Found Elsewhere
Wild_rice

Geranium sylvaticum

Found Elsewhere
Geranium_sylvaticum

Geranium maculatum

Found Elsewhere
Geranium_maculatum

Many species in the Apiaceae family

Found Elsewhere
Apiaceae

Many species in the Cichorieae family

Found Elsewhere
Cichorieae

Bog Moss

Found Elsewhere
Sphagnum

Clover

Found Elsewhere
Clover

Pea

Found Elsewhere
Pea

Broad Bean

Found Elsewhere
Vicia_faba

Water Mannagrass

Found Elsewhere
Glyceria_fluitans

Lady's Bedstraw

Found Elsewhere
Galium_verum

Wild Oat

Found Elsewhere
Avena_sterilis

Wild Lentil

Found Elsewhere
[Lentil]

Apple

Found Elsewhere
Apple

Brassica Rapa (Turnip, Bomdong, Bok Choy, Komatsuna) wild equivalents

Found Elsewhere
Brassica_rapa

Wild Onion

Found Elsewhere
/Allium_vineale

Wild Garlic

Found Elsewhere
Allium_ursinum

Arumleaf Arrowhead

Found Elsewhere
Sagittaria_cuneata

Bulrush

Found Elsewhere
Typha

Chives

Found Elsewhere
Chives

Wild Cabbage

Found Elsewhere
Brassica_oleracea

Ginseng

Found Elsewhere
Panax_ginseng

Chinese Artichoke

Found Elsewhere
Stachys_affinis

Burdock

Found Elsewhere
Arctium

Beetroot

Found Elsewhere
Beetroot

Skirret

Found Elsewhere
Sium_sisarum

Yew

Found Elsewhere
Taxus_baccata

Redwoods

Found Elsewhere
Sequoioideae

Hardier Eucalyptus species

Found Elsewhere
Eucalyptus

Many Spruces

Found Elsewhere
Spruce

Kauri

Found Elsewhere
Agathis_australis

Lotus

Found Elsewhere
Nelumbo_nucifera

Mycena chlorophos

Found Elsewhere
Mycena_chlorophos

King Alfred's Cakes

Found Elsewhere
Daldinia_concentrica

Common Inkcap

Found Elsewhere
Coprinopsis_atramentaria

Orwmirnekoazhfebupaifoarv (Archivist-root)

Unique to Harndon
A peculiar woody plant, very short and stocky in appearance, looking rather like a small jagged tree stump with a crown of dark leaves. It has a parasitic relationship with nearby trees, tapping into roots with its own thin tendrils to both take a share of the nutrients and water and to anchor itself in place. These tendrils then grow along and within the tree roots, weaving its way back out again on the other side of the root network. This way, it creates a constantly growing network of other plants' roots.

The most curious characterstic of the archivist-root is that not only does it trace a map of the root network within a fleshy cylinder inside of the woody plant (the circumferance of which never stops growing), but it shows a living archive of the condition of the root system (and therefore, the soil and the host trees and plants/fungi along it). The way it does this is by each minute part of the map taking on different hues depending on levels of growth, distress, physical disruption, nutrient and water supply, resulting in an incredibly intricate and detailed colour map that documents the surrounding forest. With the passing of time, the map is pushed further down towards the ground, with the most up-to-date layer remaining on top and following the archivist-root's shell growth upwards. If one was to cut into the fleshy cylinder like a cake, then the observer could see how the root network grew over time, and its varying conditions.

As to why the plant exhibits this strange behaviour, scientists have reached the conclusion that (as the plant seems to favour tendril growth along what has historically been the most stable and healthiest parts of the network) the plant can read the chemicals preserved in the historical colour map, and make "judgements" as to which direction it should spend most of its energy and growth.

Ithal

Unique to Harndon
Nut-growing trees. Hard (yet edible) shell protects fleshy innards. High in protein, fat and energy.

Tai

Unique to Harndon
Tall, wide-branched tree. Grows fruit that is similar to Ithal, but with a hard, inedible red shell, instead of a dark brown edible one. Once ripe, the shell starts to peel away, even whilst on the plant. The flesh on the inside of the shell is similar to a dried fig, and tastes like a mixture between dates and fig.

Thuzhnekonta

Unique to Harndon
Climbing plant, with arrays of long, thin leaves, similar to pine leaves. The leaves have a citrusy flavour, and are high in vitimin C

Reft

Unique to Harndon
A family of bulb-producing shrubs that can grow to 8ft in height. Multiple species exist, all with differing bulb colours. Before the bulbs flower, they can be crushed and processed to make dyes

Sister's Wort

Unique to Harndon
A small shrub that has dark red leaves. If the root wort is set on fire, it explodes, due to the chemicals within the plant, and the air pockets running through the root. Used in chemical manufacture for millennia.

Ribradanov

Unique to Harndon
Name literally means "Blood-leaf". A shrub that has short, fern-like leaves that grow off the main stem. When made into a tea, tastes and looks similar to redbush tea, though with a slightly more bitter taste.

Namai

Unique to Harndon
Namai are hardy herbacious perennials that grow alongside streams, and within shallow marshes. Very similar in structure to papyrus, the majority of parchment in Harndon was (and often is still) made from namai. Parchment can be made by overlapping thin namai strips, previously soaked in water to initiate decomposition (which makes the namai stickier), on a flat surface, and then applying a large amount of pressure for a long time, normally through the use of a large rock, similar to the surface that the reeds were placed on. The sheets were then dried, with the rough edges being smoothed through sanding.

Krarolnir (Flesh-bloom)

Unique to Harndon
A fungus that (imperfectly) mimics various edible mushrooms not within its own family. If eaten, its chewed pieces reaches out with rapidly growing tendrils to latch onto the sides of the victims' oesophagus. Whilst there, the krarolnir colonises the edge of the food pipe, using the tissue there as food, and replacing it with its own growth. Once the fungus has more or less fully colonised the host, it sends fruiting bodies outwards. In a final burst of energy harnessed from the victim, the flesh-coloured fruits explode from the skin to spore once they are mature.

The krarolnir is the reason why those foraging for mushrooms are always instructed to inspect the undersides of the cap, and to dig around a little beneath the soil to check whether the mycelial growth is flesh coloured - the tell-tale sign of a krarolnir.

Krarolnir was used as a component in the more indirect resistances employed by some tribespeople during the Courellian invasion and ensuing colonial period.

Oiguvarkozh-Lomolnirzonato (Eternal-Dawnbringer)

Unique to Harndon
A peculiar fungus that inhabits root structures of trees. It forms a parasitic relationship with its host, draining a small amount of nutrients from the tree. However, in order to secure its nutrient source, the fungus has an ability to convert those nutrients into stem cells, which it uses to regenerate both itself and the host tree. This relationship effectively lengthens the healthy lifespan of both host and parasite by magnitudes of the original timespans. There are even some in the scientific community who have hypothesised that the relationship between tree and fungus creates a joint organic structure that is more or less immortal, save for the impacts of serious disease or destruction.

Me*renganresh (Twilight-Star)

Unique to Harndon
Bioluminescent vines that emit a ghostly blue light. Cultivars have been created that emit a large amount of light, and these have been often used as natural lighting within buildings.

Kalsar

Unique to Harndon
Woody shrub that is adapted to high-salinity environments, such as lagoons, fens and riversides. Excess salt is excreted onto the waxy upper surface of its leaves, and stored in its dark black fruits. Used as a food, especially when fermented as then, they give off a flavour akin to a dark soy sauce concentrate.

Timeiei

Unique to Harndon
A bright-purple moss species that has a taste similar to that of fairly mild paprika when fresh, earning it the somewhat unfair nickname "poor-man's paprika".

Ovnan

Unique to Harndon
Tuber-producing plant. The tuber is valued as a spice, often said to be the earthy cousin of many "mixed spice" (combination of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, cloves) mixes.

Native Fauna

Again, Harndon shares fauna with Scandinavian alpine and Celtic Rainforest environments; namely these fauna (with all of the extinct species florishing with the exceptions of the Aurochs, the Tarpan and the Boar, which have never lived in Harndonian forests) and these fish in the majority of Harndon. In the inland alpine areas, these mammals and these birds are predominant.

Other wildife includes:

Forest Wyvern

Unique to Harndon

Although fairly rare, this carnivorous 2-winged, 2-legged creature is the apex predator of the Harndonian slopes. The colours can vary from dappled green to black, and this is normally dependent on the environment in which that subspecies of forest wyvern developed in. Adult forest wyverns can be anywhere from 4m to 7m in length, with a wingspan of 5m to 8m. It is possible to tame a wyvern (the Quera have some of their members who use them as both mounts and partners), though this takes years, and is only possible if the wyvern and the human grow up together. Wyverns have an average lifespan of up to 45 years, and are at the top of the food chain. They prey on almost any of the mammals within the ecosystem, with the exception of bears and elk.

Ashkelun

Unique to Harndon
Ashkelun.png
Ashkelun are a type of equine animal home to Harndon's forests. Stocky, pony-like in stature, ashkelun tend to be dark in colour, hairy (and therefore more resistant to the harsh Harndonian winters), stronger than both horses and mules, and with greater stamina. Combine this with their naturally (slightly) larger size than original equivalents, and it makes them the ideal woodland mount. Ashkelun have large, grippy paws instead of hooves (with an ankle just above the paw, unlike any other other equine creature), so that they can easily move quietly through the dense Harndonian woodland. Their milk is drinkable to humans in the same way that sheep's or cows's are, and yogurts and cheeses can be made from it. Their milk and meat have been compared often to that from goats.

Harndonian society has been inextricably linked with the herding of ashkelun, teilar and deer since time immemorial, and continues to be so to this day.

Teilar

Unique to Harndon
Teilar.png
Relatives of the deer, Teilar are tentacled opportunistic omnivores that differ from their more mundane relatives by sporting large antlers, regardless of sex. The inside of their mouth-tendrils are carpeted with tiny, sucker-like teeth that can drag and tear difficult to reach foliage and flesh, making them excellent scavengers of even the smallest corpses. Significantly crankier than many other deer-like species, it is unknown quite exactly how they were first 'tamed' for use in nomadic husbandry; to this day, more herders get injured by Teilar than by any other creature. Despite their fearsome reputation, however, they are highly intelligent, and a pack can co-ordinate itself to protect and nurture the most vulnerable members of what are normally quite small (due to limited fertility) herds, often leading offensives against would-be predators. They are valued for their horn; meat; and milk, as well as their use as pack animals. Though they are of a suitable size to be ridden, it is inadvisable to attempt it.