The name of the main route leading from the Riverlands to Hellgrass Reach. Although a direct route from Derzak would ideally pass far Counter to Nistray, the position of Nistray and Ur's lands force travellers from Derzak to travel upriver to Sword Landing before they start to journey Sunwards.
Sword Landing is the name given to a small port village on the Sunwards bank of the One River about 100 Klegs Turnwards of Ur. Although larger and more convenient ports lie to the Counter, Sword Landing is the first spot firmly outside of Ur's control that gives access to the lands beyond Nistray. As such it forms the main landing point for Derzaki and Chaldian ships bound for the Reachway and Hellgrass Reach.
Despite it's strategic importance to Derzak, Sword Landing is not a huge community. Almost everyone here is just passing through, and local industry is confined to ship repair and fishing. The Landing is nevertheless well fortified with thick walls of mud brick and wooden beams, and presents an intimidating prospect to travellers from the landward side.
Meerok is the principal town of Derzak's Sword Coast holdings, a swath of farmlands on the Sunwards plateau of the One River well to the Turnwards of Nistray. Protected from the worst of the sandstorms by the Ahzkuun shieldlands, and given access to shipping through Sword Landing this is a generally quiet area, that conducts some trade with Nistran villages further to the Counter-turn and keeps an eye on Chald to the Nightwards.
Meerok's principal function is administrative, serving as a base location for Derzaki Clerks, Mages and Bonded Ones to oversee the scattered farms and holdings. Many of the farmers here are ex-soldiers, granted land on the Sword Coast as a reward for military service. This lends Meerok a roudy air, full of places where old soldiers come to drink and reminisce about past campaigns. It also means that crippled Keldians are a surprisingly common sight on the town's streets.
Meerok is built on a slope overlooking a wide wash through which water flows after rain. There is often a trickle of water here amongst the drying mud even when rain is long overdue, and Meeroki children are normally handed the duty of risking the mud to fetch water, or set to hunting the Striv that burrow everywhere in the wash. The town itself is mostly built from rough stone cleared from the fields and plastered with river mud. Higher status buildings are painted with ochre in varying shades.
Riverwards of Hellgrass Reach, over the wide plains of white sand, lies the shieldlands known as Ahzkuun, a territory of exposed and wind blasted uplands (Harshness 20), dotted with canyons and deep wind-carved pits. A small number of canyon routes reach all the way across the Ahzkuun, the chief of which is known as the Pass of Eagles. This high sided canyon winds it's way from Still Water to Meerok, a distance of about 5 days travel (Harshness 15).
Still Water is a small village lying at the Sunwards end of the Pass of Eagles. Its most significant feature is the spring fed oasis pool that gives it its name, though the surrounding trees can be spotted at some distance across the razor grass plains. Small houses of mud brick and grass thatching ring the pool, nestling beside a tumbled ruin. Although the locals are willing to offer many personal theories on the origin of this ruin (fort, palace, mage's house) no history actually remains, and much of the structure has long since been robbed to build the villager's houses.
Hellgrass Reach forms the major Drylands dominion of Derzak, which otherwise owns only lands along the One-River and the Ice hills. The name is also applied to the wide plains of Razor Grass and white sand that surround the town, which are rich in Copper, Tin, Silver and cattle.
Hellgrass Reach is a sprawling town built into the sides of many circular sink-holes that dot a wide expanse of sand and grass many Klegs Daywards of Nistray. For this reason little can be seen of the town from a distance other than the wooden gantries used to raise and lower goods into the smaller sink-holes, and the fortified central tower rising like a finger above the rest. The deep sink-holes are riddled with caves and passages, many of which hold reserves of water, although when large military units are stationed here these resources can be hard stretched. The central and largest sink-hole surrounds a deep stone-lined pool. Although the water level here can fall dramatically concentric steps and ledges always allow access to the water edge.
There are limited routes in and out of Hellgrass Reach, which was built with defence in mind. Strong forts guard the main ramps down into the town, and the buildings are designed to provide shelter from bow shots and falling rocks alike. The surrounding plains are filled with small mine workings, many abandoned, and Ancient ruins. Derzak depends heavily on the reach for metals and grain, and constantly garrisons many troops here. Border skirmishes with Nistran soldiers from Darkin are common, although a vast reach separates the two towns.