Stone Age: Before 1E 0
Copper Age: 1E 1-1E 2200
Bronze Age: 1E 2200-1E 4400
Iron Age: 2E 0-2E 700
Ancient Age: 2E 700-2E 2200
Middle Ages: 3E 0-3E 2050
Early Modern Age: 3E 2050-3E 2600
Industrial Age: 3E 2600-3E 2700
Machine Age: 3E 2700-3E 2800
Atomic Age: 3E 2800-3E 2850
Space Age: 3E 2850-3E 2875
Information Age: 3E 2875-3E 2900
Genetic Age: 3E 2950-3E 3000
Awakening Age: 3E 3000-3E 3415
Twilight Age: 4E 0-4E 500
Much of Varaat’s pre-kin'toni history is known in piecemeal to the remaining scholars of the Xerea Empire. Often cited as the ‘turbulent’ northern province, the inhabitants of this ice-laden realm were spilling Imperial blood long before the coming of the kin'toni. Time and time again, the forces of the Xerea Empire would find themselves locked in mortal conflict against the semi-barbarous natives; northbound zu'aan who fancied themselves the Gar'leth Tirbal Zu'Aan. The savages, however, soon claimed ultimate victory as their foes were recalled south to fight a losing war against the rising kin'toni threat. Following the cataclysmic fall of civilization across Terael around 2E 3000, Varaat entered a period of extreme isolation.
From the records established by Aelain Tara’s unified Gar’leth tribe, it is understood that neither the kin'toni nor zu'aan refugees migrated northward for at least 100 years prior to the waning of the first era. As a result, it is unknown exactly how Varaat’s natives squandered their old-world technology. Popular theory surmises that because of their marauding culture, the Gar’leth were unable to maintain what scant tech they possessed; a consequence of the retiring of the Xerea Empire's military, whom they raided for parts and supplies. Others shift the blame on the weather fluctuations caused by the ancient nuclear scouring, which plunged the province’s cold temperatures into ranges reaching absolute zero. It is estimated that by the time the climate stabilized, the population of Varaat had dropped by as much as 80%.
A number owing not only to the blood-freezing conditions, but also the strain of inter-tribal warfare that plagued the native Gar’leth.It would not be until 2E 3415 that the snows would finally again be trodden by foreign heels. During this final stretch of the first era, zu'aan refugees found their way into the region. These settlers were a cosmopolitan mix of tribal and city dwellers, forced into uneasy alliances on their northern trek by bands of Kin’Toni. Harassed by the kin'toni, the migrants cut across Varaat’s many expanses to various horrific results. Some were ruthlessly tracked down and turned by their bestial hunters as they attempted easy passage through open ice fields.
Others sought to lose the kin'toni by venturing into the fearsome snowstorms howling down from Mount Gar, only never to be seen or heard from again. Those foolish enough to attempt to navigate the many frozen rivers shared a similar fate; though it is unclear whether they were simply turned or fell prey to the monsters rumored to dwell beneath the deep waters. The fortunate survivors of the northbound migration eventually settled on Varaat’s western extremity in 2E 3416. This vast strip of land bordering the Varaati Sea, commonly known as the Snowy Beach, provided the refugees with ample protection and resources to allow them to thrive for a time. Three colonies were raised beneath the ice cliffs and frost pillars; Ki’os, Zypron (Later to become Lakon under Aelain Tara) and Jalserra.
From 3E 3417 onward, details regarding these zu'aan settlements become obscure. Even with Aelain’s records, it is impossible to discern the exact timeline leading into the dawn of the second era. Though, through anecdotal evidence, it is believed that Ki’os and Jalserra were destroyed by attacks from the savage Gar’leth during the ambiguous Varaati Wars of 2E 3418-3420. Zypron would hold out longer, repulsing the Gar’leth in a string of conflicts between 2E 3423-3426, and again in the bloody ‘Shore Struggle’ of 2E 3430. In subsequent years, large-scale Kin’Toni incursions would drive the sparse native tribes continuously westward. Many settled on the Snowy Beach, becoming immediate hostile neighbors to the Zypronians.
Records indicate a possibility of three more armed struggles in 2E 3432, 3433 and 3435, however, supporting oral tradition is too weak to confirm this. What is clear is that the danger of the enemy led some Gar’leth to mingle with Zypron; Surviving hygl hide documents reveal at least six unions between Gar’leth men and Zypronian women in 2E 3440. Most of these marriages, it can be presumed, served a martial purpose. As the Zypronian military ranks were thinned by constant battle, they sought to fill them by introducing native males into their community. This crossbreeding would become the norm by the end of the first era as the kin'toni steadily covered Varaat. And in 3E 15, Duhain Tara and his venerable daughter would arrive in Zypron to a gathering of desperate Gar’leth-Zypronian hybrids on the brink of destruction at kin'toni hands.
The Snowy Beach of Varaat is situated in the province’s western region. It encompasses the entirety of the coastline, roughly 2786 miles, consisting predominantly of the Varaati Sea’s frozen shores. Numerous offshoot ranges of central Mount Gar run westward through the region, sometimes stretching well out into the sea. These slim mountains, aptly named ‘Gar’s Fingers’, form natural barriers that shield interior ice ravines from Varaat’s fearsome snows and winds. Rivers that derive from the mountains’ precipices flow down these mainland canyons, either splitting into tributaries and wending south or draining into the dark blue waters of the Varaati. The greatest of these bodies, the Jorangund River, is said to originate from the peak of Mount Gar and opens into the populated Duhain’s Bay; home to the Gar’leth zu'aan .
To the far south rise the imposing Hreth Cliffs, which form a 300-mile concave aperture along the Snowy Beach. The lengthy rock body towers 200 feet at its highest point, with its lowest visible beneath the waves. Imperial scholars surmise that this subterranean plateau known as the Deyandra Gorge was once in fact above sea level. It is believed that it could have served as a fort prior to the rise of the kin'toni, being artificially submerged by Empire forces to prevent unsalvageable technology from falling into native hands. On the 13th of every month, the tide pounding the cliffs subside, revealing an inexplicable blinking red light within the gorge. This, coupled with hulking remains of Imperial fortifications on the cliffside, serves to reinforce the theory.
Sporadic copses of sempervirens dot the northernmost stretches of the Beach, interspersed with ice shrub glades and thickets of frost grasses. The most prodigious tree mass in this area is the 8.2- square mile Letgari Woods on the Snowy Islet. Like the Deyandra Gorge, scholars theorize that due to the presence of several ruined towers, both the woods and small island served some martial purpose. The many ravines situated between Gar’s Fingers also possess several patches of forested land. Similar to the copses of the north, these ‘ravine woods’ are minuscule in size, ranging from 5-10 square miles, with a few notable exceptions. The Ar’teleste Forest of Duhain’s Bay is the second largest floral growth in Varaat, stretching 200 miles from the base of Mount Gar to the Jorangund River mouth.
It is only dwarfed in size by the simply named Haunted Gallows, a tundra jungle that covers all the Snowy Beach’s southern extremity. Estimated to be 450 miles in length, the Gallows are a dense woody formation cut into fine pieces by the many stray tributaries of the northern rivers. The lowest mainland point of Varaat, Vond’s Defile, can be found in the eastern edge of the forest. Sitting at 400 feet beneath sea level, the ancient Gar’leth held the belief that this jagged ravine was a passage to the underworld.
Approximately 90% of Varaat’s plant life grows in the Snowy Beach region. However, due to the largely unfavorable weather conditions, there is a marked lack of diversity. The most common type of tree is the spindly-leaved Eya’gost, or ‘Frost Quill’. These stout evergreens can grow up to 15 feet tall and boast branches roughly 5 inches in diameter. They are extremely long-lived, with certain specimens being on Imperial record as well over 600 years old. Because of this prolonged lifespan, it is believed that the germination process of the Eya’gost is of a similar duration; a simultaneous explanation for why saplings are rarely observed. Despite its classification as an evergreen, the leaves of the Frost Quill are a whitish-silver hue.
It is currently unknown as to why this phenomenon in coloring occurs, as established documentation confirms the presence of chlorophyll in the plant’s cells. Two species of frost grasses are currently known to grow across the Snowy Beach. The first is recognized by the Garl’eth zu'aan as ‘Bitter Blade’, a short, hair-like plant with many herbal properties. It is a staple remedy of any tribal healer in the region, being used to treat ailments ranging from indigestion to the common cold. According to pre-kin'toni military records, Imperial field medics would break the grass down into a paste using their mouths and apply it as a burn ointment in the absence of proper medical supplies. However, the success of this technique seemed to vary, as many patients are documented to have experienced extreme nausea following treatment.
As its name suggests, the taste of this plant is bitter to the zu'aan palette, with basic chemical properties capable of neutralizing acids. Far greater in abundance is the Bitter Blade’s pale green cousin, ‘Vatk’s Breath’. Named after the little creatures that enjoy it as food, Vakt’s Breath is a translucent species of grass found across the expanse of the Snowy Beach. Its unique properties grant it the uncanny ability to grow in a variety of locations; along riversides, mountain crags, ice fields and even cliff faces under constant erosion by waves. The waxy layer coating its epidermis is tougher than most plants’, able to withstand force capable of snapping branches. This resilient coating has evolved to protect the grass’s interior disposition, consisting primarily of a sweet nectar-like substance.
The liquid is considered a delicacy by the tribal Gar’leth, whose soldiers are known to mix it in their waterskins. The appearance of ice shrubs in the Beach’s northern hemisphere is a relatively novel occurrence. Neither Imperial nor ancient Gar’leth records indicate the presence of these brown, thorny plants prior to 3E 34. Given the old Gar’leth name of Moranmur (roughly ‘spiked bush’), these 3-foot-tall shrubs have been poorly studied. It is understood that while they follow basic floral processes, they are also capable of very limited motor abilities. Each year, every Moranmur moves approximately 0.666 inches in a southeastern trajectory in the direction of Mount Gar.
Though the purpose behind this remains a mystery, the Garl’eth zu'aan tend to avoid the plants, claiming that their movement coincides with a ‘strange howling’ that originates from the depths of the central mountain.
The Snowy Beach’s wildlife consists primarily of creatures native to the colder biomes of Terael . The anthropomorphic walrus species, the hygl, reside in number throughout the northern and southern points, often hunted by the Garl’leth zu'aan for their tusks and blubber. Vatks roam the length of the coastline in fragmented herds of up to 75, scouring the snow for their eponymous frost grass. The similarly diminutive varha keep to mountainsides and cliffs to avoid contact with other animals, though will utilize their glossy white fur as camouflage when taking to the snow. Large ruanoes are also known to wander the Haunted Gallows, however, these abominable beasts typically keep to Varaat’s central and eastern regions.
Exclusive to the province are nocturnal felines known as Gronars. Standing 5 feet tall and weighing in at 200 pounds, these monstrous cats are natural-born predators. Their fur is of variable color, depending on their habitat, with greys and blacks common in mountain cats, and white in their snow-dwelling siblings. Their diet revolves predominantly around vatks and varhas, with certain specimens known to eat up to 10 of the smaller creatures per day. While they generally avoid any zu'aan , gronar attacks are a well-documented occurrence; males being their primary victims. Yet the details of these cases indicate no hunting motive, as corpses generally remain intact. No explanation as to why this occurs, but some believe that the animals view zu'aan as rival predators.
The deep rivers of Gar’s Fingers are known to possess a greater abundance of fauna than the mainland. This is due to many of these water bodies mixing with the hot springs beneath Mount Gar, creating habitable zones. Fish from the Varaati sea often swim upriver to breed, including the pink-scaled kilkil, swo’daq hammerhead, tisaa pufferfish, Zargf eels, and the grotesque bluug, staple of the Gar’leth zu'aan diet. Conversely, this high concentration of fish attracts larger, carnivorous species which makes water travel highly dangerous. The classification of these beasts is still underway.
The most understood aquatic killer is the deadly narung. This shark-amphibian hybrid measures two meters in length and weighs over 100 pounds, with an estimated 40% of that mass constituting of muscle. It is an immensely strong creature, being able to capsize fully manned Gar’leth canoes; a feat accomplished by leaping up from the water and landing in the vessel, dragging it down using sheer force. Often attributed to the ‘fish-men’ of ancient Gar’leth legend, narungs are hideous in appearance. Their heads are round and bloated, with a single grey eye set in the center of its face. Two frog-like hands exist in the place of pectoral fins, which the narung uses to grasp its prey.
Its scales are a dirty gold hue and are covered in a thin layer of some excreted substance, the purpose of which is unknown. While an efficient predator with extraordinary strength and speed, their violent nature makes them easily detectable, even when submerged. Tribesmen are instructed to watch for ‘tremors’ in the current when navigating the rivers, as disturbed water is usually a sign of an active narung. The creature’s bright scales also contribute to its poor capacity for stealth; especially on days when the winter sun is brighter than usual.