child_m.gif (3208 bytes)alasia: The Surroundings

Dolen Vale

 

The city of Salasia is built atop Salasi Tor, a squat hill in the center of the lush Dolen Valley. The Dolen Valley itself (Dolen being the Alqan word for 'Secret') is really a circular field stretching 9 miles in diameter. It is surrounded by six mountains, the Six Guardians of Salasia, and is dissected by the Hopa (Al. 'hope') river. The valley is extremely fertile, and perfect for farming, and over fifty farms have been built, mainly along the river, to grow wheat, rye and flax, amongst over foods, as well as rear domesticated animals such as chickens, cows and horses.

Hopa River- Flowing from Tur-Hopa, the Hopa River originally ran to Salasi Tor, before continuing underground and feeding the famous Hopa Spring. However, several irrigation channels have been dug by the farmers, to feed their farms, not to mention the major diversions created by the inhabitants of the city proper.

The Old Moat- Created when Salasia was first built, the moat was made from the diverted waters of the river Hopa. It is bridged at the Alqan gate by Swan Bridge, and at Lin-Gate by Lin-Bridge, where it also meets Hopa Stream.

The Kali-Mir River- The river Hopa was diverted again a century after the founding of the city, as a celebration. The Keli-Mir, surrounding the Old Moat, serves as an extra barrier against attack, as well as further irrigation. It was primarily made to add even more beauty to the Vale. The Dwarron Road crosses it at Rona Bridge, whereas the Lin-Trail crosses at Duil Bridge.

Melian's Forest- This beautiful coniferous forest is said to be the abode of several of Melina's spirits. It is here, on 1st May, that the Carnival of Fertility stops, temporarily, for the Queen to do a blessing and a ritual. It is also here that marriages are performed on this holiest of days. The Carnival is a spectacular affair, when every Salasian marches from the city, around every river until they reach the forest. They usually wear very little, many being naked, except for ornate and extravagant masks, usually representing Orcs or Demons. The carnival then finishes at the Lake, where a festival takes place at night. The Carnival is meant to praise Melina, ask for her blessing, and chase the Orcs and Demons away from the lands of Alqador.

The forest is also home to a variety of herbs and plants, and both healers and food-foargers are often encountered here. The forest is a constant source of wood, but the Salasians always plant a tree before they fell one.

Lake Salasi- A beautiful lake, nearly two hundred foot across. This too was made in celebration for the city's centenary. Its center is dominated by a carving of Melina, which shoots a fountain of water fifty foot high. Surrounding the outer edge are a hundred smaller fountains. It is a beautiful place, and the ideal meeting point for many young lovers. On May 1st it is the end point of the Fertility Carnival, and it is here that many relationships are consummated, as several hundred young Salasians gather to drink, talk, swim and dance naked.

Dwarron Road- A well-paved road, with two lanes divided by a low-hedge, the Dwarron Road leads to the Dwarven City of Kazad-Ar, after travelling over Dwarron Bridge, beyond the valley. It is lined with trees and statues at either side, and each lane is wide enough to fit two wagons. Once it leaves the valley, it gradually becomes narrower and shoddier until fading to a dirt path.

Lin-Trail- Lin-Trail is a small unpaved road which leads south to the Seri-Lin home of Lo-Cara.

Tur-Mela- Tur-Mela is the highest mountain in the Valley, reaching a height of 15,300.' It is here where Halan was reputedly visited by Melina, and a small shrine is built at the top (simply a small statue of Melina, and an alter). Many couples make a pilgrimage to the shrine, and bow at the altar, to ask the goddess for children.

Halfway down the southern (outer) edge of the Mountain are the skeletons of long-dead Salasian criminals and oath-breakers. It is here they are left to hang, after a ritual of forgiveness by the queen. It is thought that by hanging them on Melina's Mountain they will be forgiven and welcomed into her Halls.

Tur-Dolen- The smallest of the Valley's Mountains, reaching only 13,100.' At the base of Tur-Dolen, in a cave beyond the forest, are the Tombs of The Hallowed. Really a vast maze of caverns, several thousand tombs are built inside, containing the dead bodies of Salasians.

Lo-Cara- Reaching a majestic 14,500,' Lo-Cara is believed to have been the birth-place of Shoma, Melina's Eagle. Whatever the case, the mountain is home to thousands of nest of Great Eagles, and the highest eyrie, atop the mountain, is home to Thiwrak himself. For this reason, the Seri-Lin have built their Guildhouse deep inside the mountain. The guildhouse, known simply as the Lo-Cara, is where the Seri-Lin are trained and live. There are several hundred caverns, each home to three or four members, and each cavern climbs its way outside to their Sho-ris' eyrie.

Tur-Hopa- This mountain reaches 15,100,' and is the source of the river Hopa.

Si-Duil- Standing 14,100',this mountain markes the westernmost flank of the valley. On its western-side, beyond the valley, are the remains of an old Ursani temple.

Si-Rona- The easternmost mountain reaches a height of 13,800'.

Halan's Peak- This mountain, reaching 14,900', was the first place from which Halan regarded the hidden Dolen Valley. It is here that he is buried, as requested, with his wife. Their tomb is atop the mountain, ornately carved and surrounded by several varieties of wild flower.