Meru Ladu - The Green Lands
The core of the Celestial Empire, and location of the capital, Ahurat is a vast basin into which many rivers drain from the circling mountains and highlands. While rain is uncommon outside of the season of Ilnisos, the ground is saturated year round and dotted with salty lakes and marshes.
Few plants from outside the region grow here, due to the salty water and soils, mostly bamboos and marsh grasses. Cassava and various berries are the only plants which can be cultivated in the region without requiring vast amounts of fresh water to parge the salt. Most farming takes place in the ringing foot-hills, where the water is less saline and the ground drier.
The large numbers of lakes are emerald green due to algae growth and attract vast flocks of flamingos each year. The green waters, pink birds and bamboo swamps are icons of the empire. Additionally, many other marsh birds nest in the region and are, in turn, food for snakes and rodents.
Some fish live in the highland boarders of Ahurat, but most water in the region is too salty for them. However, a variety of shrimps can be found in the rivers and lakes, and some areas are stocked with sea-born fish, though only a very few have sustaining populations.
The capital, Akipatu, is set amid the largest chain of lakes and boasts many Upilet, or purity towers, in which many secret arts and employed to produce clean water from the salt lakes. Aqueducts and water caravans provide much needed pure water to the far reaches of the Empire, giving the capital direct and powerful control over the economy and health of most of it’s citizens. To rebel is to be left high and dry – very literately.
However, the further away from the central marshes (and higher up the mountains), the less saline the rivers become, making the water trade less vital and thus limiting the area of absolute control. Past the mountains the Empire has to rely on other forms of trade and greater military power to maintain control.