The largest of Aserra’s current continents, Thiskel stretches through the northern and southern hemispheres, with the northern and southern halves of the continent connected only by a narrow isthmus.
To the east of Thiskel is the hook-shaped continent of Kalesten, divided by the narrow Riath Sea. To the west lays the remains of Ageond, once separated by the Sea of Otore. When the continent of Ageond sank, the Otore became a part of the Tonult Ocean, though the space between southern Thiskel and the Forsaken Land is considered to be a remnant of the Otore. The scars of the War of the Gods are evident on Thiskel. Through the heart of the northern half of the continent is a great chasm, said to be created when Maris struck down Ispa in the final battle between the seven Elemental Gods.
Humans are the most populous inhabitants of Thiskel, living throughout both the northern and southern halves of the continent. The forests of the northeast are claimed by the Idayn. The western forests were lost to them following the War of the Gods, but the Qao'Idayn now claim them. Alongside the Idayn live Eain’Idayn and many tribes of Ochae’ and Dra’nafod. The mountains are home to Brech’mar and Zaedyn, as well as a few scattered Iengi and Kuzo tribes.
The southern half of the continent is home to humans and Ery’Idayn, as well as a small Iengi population in secluded mountain areas. In the jungles along the eastern and southern coasts, Samiss have full reign.
Dividing northern Thiskel is a massive rift dubbed “Maris’ Chasm.” During the War of the Gods, it is believed that in the final battle, Maris struck down her sister Ispa with a powerful blast. Ispa was driven through the continent with such force that she ripped through Thiskel and drove up a massive mountain range at the end of the chasm. Today, the chasm is a treacherous place, and an impassible obstacle. Miles wide, bridges cannot span it. The Sea of Lertura flooded in to fill the rift as soon as it was created, and ever since the water of the rift has been intractable and unpredictable.
The depth of the rift is unknown. Whirlpools and eddies rise up in new places with each tide, and not even sea animals risk swimming into the chasm. From the northern coast, the walls of the chasm gradually reach higher and higher, ending hundreds of feet above sea level. The mouth of the chasm has become wider and safer over tens of thousands of years of erosion, but the same cannot be said for the rest of the chasm. The jagged walls of bedrock and volcanic rock have become their own ecosystem, home to many kinds of birds, rodents, and sure-footed mammals such as goats and wildcats. On the west and east walls, Brech’mar tribes have tunneled through and created elaborate balcony residences from within the earth, and around a thousand years ago, a tribe of Zaedyn began construction of a city in the central western wall. Other than these two groups, no other peoples inhabit the chasm.
At the end of Maris’ Chasm stands a high-reaching, jagged range of mountains known as Ispa’s Sepulcher. While the goddess didn’t die here, perhaps it was wishful thinking on behalf of those who named the mountains, and those who carry that name on. This range boasts some of the highest peaks in Aserra and is a massive, active volcano. The caldera sits on the northern side, in the crater formed where Ispa finally came to rest. Slow eruptions occur from time to time, leaving a river of lava flowing down into the Chasm. The mountains are inhabited by Kuzo tribes, and one Zaedyn city on the tallest southern-most peak. Due to the high volcanic activity, no Brech’mar have risked moving into the Sepulcher.
Northwest – Qao-Baiji, Lianquai Mountains, and Ourem
The western side of northern Thiskel is considered everything west of the Chasm. The northern tip of this region is coastal tundra, inhabited by some Ochae’nafod tribes and tribal humans who call them-selves the Quo-muo. This region is separated from the large nation of Qao-Baoji to the south by the Lianqai Range. Two rivers sourced from the Lianqai meander down toward the eastern and western shores. The Huocoun flows to the west, while the Shuo flows to the east, both emptying into the Sea of Lertura.
South of the Lianqai Mountains is a large, fertile valley claimed by the Qao-Baoji Empire. With the Lianqai to the north, the rise from the walls of the Chasm to the east, and the wide Ouremian mountains to the west, the valley is a rich place. Originally densely forested, much of the forests have been cleared for farmland throughout the heart of the valley. Forestlands still stand around the foothills of the mountains and rise to the Chasm, as well as small forested areas that have yet to fall victim to human incursion, and are protected by Qao'Idayn, Dra’nafod, and Ochae’nafod tribes.
Significant rivers flow down from the surrounding mountains into the heart of the valley, where they then empty into the Hiawao Sea. From Ispa’s Sepulcher flow the Shian and Qian rivers, which eventually merge into the Qia-Cia. From ice and springs at the high rises of the Chasm wall flows the Xiapian River, which joins the Qia-Cia. Smaller tributaries flow down from the Ouremian Mountains into the Qia-Cia until it empties into the sea. The Hiawao Sea is a small inlet sea that enters into northwestern Thiskel beneath the peninsula formed by the western end of the Lianqai Range, and the northern tips of the Ouremian Mountains.
To the west of Qao-Baoji’s valley is the mountainous region of Ourem. The mountains are populated primarily by humans, with a handful of Zaedyn cities, and secretive Dra’nafod and Ochae’nafod tribes. Brech’mar once lived in the mountains as well, but most fell to Danaij invaders during the War of the Gods. The survivors were eventually driven out by Ouremians who wanted the resources of the mountains for themselves. As the mountains drop down to the sea, the land is mostly forested, as Ouremian farmers are quite suited to their terraced farmlands in mountain valleys.
Coastal Ourem is constantly buffeted by storms off the Tonult. While there are many minor rivers and streams that run from the mountains to the sea, only one major river is sourced off the western side of the Ouremian Mountains. The Ruhako River is sourced from glacial melts in the higher peaks of the southern end of the range. It forks to west, where it empties into the ocean, but the south fork travels all the way through the Ismailian plains and empties into the Sea of Thiskel. As it leaves Ourem, the river traverses through a large valley it has carved through the mountains after thou-sands of years, making it the easiest trade route by boat or foot between Ourem and its southern neighbors.
West of the Ruhako lays the Hanmaol region, south of Ourem, and along the coast of southwestern North Thiskel. Populated by a collection of smaller human nations, it is the beginning of the sub-tropics, mostly grassland, with some forests along the coast.
Eldir and Itray Forests
To the east of the Chasm lay lands unclaimed by human nations. Through the heart of the eastern half is the Ideil Mountain Range, the ancestral homeland for all Zaedyn and Brech’mar. To the west of the range is the Eldir Forest, homeland to Idayn, Eain’Idayn, as well as Ochae’ and Dra’nafod. The Eldir is the seat of the Idayn nation and fiercely guarded against human incursion. To the west of the mountains is the coastal Itray Forest, which is more secluded from human threats. The same races live on this side, and it is considered a part of the Idayn nation.
The dense Ideil Mountain range stretches from the northern tip of the east side of Thiskel to the middle of the northern half of the continent. It is the source for many rivers throughout the eastern side of the continent. The Andorra River and its various forks are forced to flow north, down from the mountains, and through the Eldir. Other tributaries join the Andorra, and eventually they empty over the edge of the Chasm in a waterfall that falls for hundreds of feet.
At the southern end of the range, the large Idressia Lake fills a valley, fed by springs and glacial melts. This is one of the sources for the Andorra River to the north, and the Thassalon River that flows south into Espera.
Much of the region south of the Ideil Mountains and Eldir and Itray forests is claimed by the Espera nation and is predominantly rolling praire with scattered woodlands The nation’s borders are marked by the Thassalon River and its forks. The main Thassalon flows down from the Idressia Lake in the Ideil range, south and empties into the Thiskel Sea. Where the Thassalon forks, it splits into two east-flowing rivers, the Ghaedyn and Nysing, the northernmost, Ghaedyn, being the border of Espera, while the southern fork Nysing travels through the country itself. Both empty into the Riath Sea.
The Ismailian region is to the west of the Thassalon, and has a combination of steppes, plains, and rocky coastal hills along the south. It boasts a Mediterranean climate, and could be compared to much of low-land Spain for climate and terrain. A large empire, Ismailia, stretches from the west bank of the Thassalon to the east bank of the Ruhako.
This strip of land connects north and south Thiskel. It is a part of the Hanmaol collective. To the west is the Tonult Ocean; to the east, the Sea of Thiskel.
Sea of Thiskel
The two halves of Thiskel are divided by the Sea of Thiskel. In the east, it opens into the Riath, and in the west it is hemmed in by the Mekoin Isthmus. There are a few small island in the sea, but the only major island of note is Zirja.
Though most well-known for the Great Desert at its heart, southern Thiskel boasts mountains, jungles, and various other biomes as well. Humans, Iengi, Ery’Idayn, Zaedyn, Brech’mar, and Asath call the desert home, while Samiss inhabit the southern jungles.
In the center of the western coast are the Siasursti Mountains. Much of the west coast is jungle, aside from regions just north of the range which have been cleared by humans. The Siasursti boast several Zaedyn cities, a couple Brech’mar nations, tribal human societies, and Samiss in the deeper parts of the jungle. Sourced at the southern end of the range is the Hydaruri River, which travels along the eastern coast, through jungles, across the southern end of the continent until emptying into the Riath on the southwestern coast.
The Great Desert
The largest desert of Aserra fills the heart of South Thiskel. Mainly home to humans, Ery’Idayn, and Asath, it is a harsh, dry, hot place, but there are still resources for those who know how to obtain them. Boarders of the desert are mostly grassland, sometimes climbing up into arid mountains, or gradually becoming greener as they near the coastlines and jungles. Along the northeastern coast are the Lisr Mountains, ending at the Bay of Khar which dips into the land. To the west of the Bay of Khar is the Tephiztia Mountains, a range which runs down the western side of Thiskel, except for the fertile Girna Peninsula, and follows along the southwestern coast toward the southern peninsula where it finally ends. This makes the Tephiztia Range the longest mountain range on Aserra.
Separated from the rest of South Thiskel by the Tephiztia Range, this land runs rich with rivers down from the mountains to the east, and has the Riath Sea to the west.
The southernmost point in Thiskel is covered in dense forests. Rivers run through, and a mountain range runs along the spine, but it is known to be populated by fierce lizard-men and their dragon masters, so it is mostly unexplored to humans.