West of the Northern Tormad range, the desert nation of Quath is vast. The rugged, indifferent people speak Quathi, a terse language full of hard consonants. The capital, Arrek, holds the majority of the population, but there are many bandits, monsters, and cults in the deserts beyond the walls.
The Desert of Quath is hundreds of miles of emptiness spotted with the occasional small settlement or camp. The rule of law is non-existent outside of these settlements. The largest such settlement, Arrek, is located where the Chith river joins the Olfor river on its way to the sea. There are sparse farmlands along both the Chith and Olfor, but Arrek is primarily a city of trade. Artisans and craftsmen use rich clay dug from the banks of the Chith and Olfor to create intricate pottery and earthenware items. These items are traded up river for precious metals mined from the foothills of the Tormad range, and down river at the coast where a small trading post exists for foreign trade.
The desert of Quath was once lush, green farmlands worked by the Forgotten Empire. During the fall wild magic destroyed the landscape and turned the region into arid hardpan and loose sand. The only parts of Quath that retain a hint of the former vibrance are near the Chith and Olfar rivers.
Fall of the Forgotten Empire
Scattered ruins and half eroded irrigation hint at the history of Arrek and the surrounding area. Vast, sprawling farmlands and rolling hills used to cover the region west of the Tormad range. When the forgotten empire fell, all of that was destroyed in the ensuing arcane backlash, which stripped the fertile soil from the land down to the silt and sand below. The few farmers and workers who managed to survive the fall roamed the desert looking for potable water and food to eat. Most of the landscape was obliterated, but the runoff basins of the Chith and Olfor Rivers faired better because the water acted as a natural buffer against the wild magic storm.
Arable land still existed where the two rivers joined on their course down from the mountains and into the ocean and the survivors eventually settled there to work the land and make what life there was to be had in the harsh Quath Desert.
The early settlers of Arrek were refugees and survivors of the Fall. They gathered in the confluence of the Chith and Olfor Rivers and began to build. The two rivers provided a good supply of clay and many of the ruined structures in the area provided metal, stone, and hardwoods for construction.
The Nomad Army and the Free People of Quath
Other survivors of the Fall were not as lucky as to have been so close to the Chith or Olfor rivers and had to resort to desperate measures to survive. The residual effects of the spell storm that destroyed the region worked to the advantage of these survivors who took advantage of the irregular flow of time to raid and ambush settlements. With each conquered settlement, their numbers grew until they were a modest sized, nomadic army.
The Nomad Army, as they had taken to calling themselves, slowly migrated south and west, trying to get to the coast, where many of the raiders believed salvation waited.
On the northern Quathi coast a group of refugees formed a settlement called Berm. The people of Berm tried to recreate the civilization that had fallen, to mixed results. One citizen, Devlynn Mandross a fiery elven woman, believed the systems of the forgotten empire were not compatible with the world they found themselves in. She was outspoken in Berm and gained a small, but loyal following. Each setback Berm faced drove more people to follow Mandross and after a few years she and her followers, who called themselves the Free People of Quath, where the majority in Berm.
The nomad army arrived in Berm, just as Devlynn and her followers were taking over. Many in the Nomad Army believed she was the salvation they had been looking for. There was opposition, but Devlynn took control of the Nomad Army and led them on a campaign to purge Quath of all traces of the Forgotten Empire.
The Nomad Army travelled south through the desert destroying structures, artifacts, and settlements they came across until they found themselves at the Olfor River. The army was not equipped to cross the river so instead they turned east and followed it towards the mountains.
After months of travelling they arrived across the shore from Arrek. The citizens of Arrek were welcoming, but Devlynn and her followers gave them an ultimatum: Abandon the traditions and ways of the Forgotten Empire, or be destroyed.
Arrek refused and the Nomad Army began a siege that lasted six months. The nomad army looked like it was going to be victorious until the flood season arrived and destroyed most of their supplies. The army dispersed, but many of its former members integrated with the settlers in Arrek.
After the Nomad Army’s defeat, Arrek enjoyed 400 years of peace, where its culture and civilization flourished. The modern government, which has evolved and grown in the 500 years since the Fall consists of an elected legislative council with 14 members who create laws, and an appointed Governor that enforces them. The Governor controls Arrek’s small military and the civil guard. Additionally a court system exists to settle any legal disputes between citizens and to decide punishment for illegal activity.
Growing international trade, via the Olfor River, has given rise to a merchant class within the city who spend coin to influence the council and Civil Governor in hopes of preferential treatment.
Arrek sits in the confluence of the Chith and Olfor rivers. Each spring the snow melts in the Tormad mountains, which causes the the two rivers to overflow their banks and deposit mineral rich sediment into the soil. This provides fertile ground for farming.
The temperature during the day for most of the year is above 90º F and falls to below 50º F at night.
The people of Arrek are diverse, like all of Cardinia, but reptilian and avian humanoids, such as Dragonborn, Kobolds, Aarakocra, and Kenku are represented in higher numbers. Aquatic humanoids make up a smaller portion of the population, though they are not absent from Arrek.
Arrek contains 85% of the population of Quath and almost 90% of the wealth. Artisans and craftsman use clay gathered from the two rivers to create pottery and other earthenware items used locally and exported to Cardinia and other trading nations. Food, even with the fertile farming regions along the banks of both rivers, is scarce and most of it is imported from other areas. Because of the long transit times and lack of pasture land, the diet of most Arreki citizens is vegetarian.
Arrek is the primary source of forgotten empire artifacts and relics on the continent. Due to the Nomad Army, many of Quath’s ruins were destroyed, but smugglers bring artifacts across the Tormad Mountains from Western Cardinia on a semi-regular basis.
Culture and Faith
Arrek has a rich history of craft and is thought to be blessed by Varuna. In addition to a large temple of Varuna, Arrek is also home to a massive library dedicated to Farrok.
Several guilds and artisan organizations exist to train workers for trades. Additionally there is a semi-formal group of academics known as the Candlelight Scholars who train students in arcane magic, history, and philosophy.