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
Athton Dry Field is a vast region of arid land located in the center west of the Canlai landmass in Taerel. This particular region of Canlai is thought to have been completely desert and void of zu'aan life from the start of the Copper Age until the start of the Bronze Age, and from the end of the Bronze Age until the beggining of the Ancient Age, as indicated by written records. Furthermore, it is also believed that this region, prior to its first zu'aan settlements, was not always composed of arid land, and some event, which is believed to have repeated during the Bronze Age, caused the area to adopt its current geological properties. Let's be clear. Archeology is this particular region of Canlai has had a rough and rocky history.
As the controlling zu'aan are not affable with foreigners or with historic research, due to reasons having to do with religious belief and the sanctity of knowledge. As such, actual research on the region known as Athton has been sparse, to say the least. There have been a few brave souls that have sought to study the region in person despite local laws, but these expeditions have not gone unnoticed by the authorities, and all of the research eventually was lost. Local research, while existant to an extent, was very secretive and did not like employing the help of foreign researchers, which also meant they did not like sharing their knowledge. Most of what is know about Athton, then, comes from scientific speculation and offsite theories.
Is it important to mention that these restrictions only lasted until near the start of the Genetic Age, as the nations of Taerel further banded together and strived for universal expansion and progress at a larger scale, deeming war and conflict as utterly unnecessary. At this point, the rules binding Athton were largely not enforced, but still existed, causing people to lose interest in it and forget about its existence. However, as anthropogists once again remembered the odd history associated with the region, they pushed for sanctions to be lifted and the old laws to be removed, and their wishes were quickly granted, for the laws were outdated and nonsensical, and most people believed the real reasons behind them were not stemming from faith, but rather from greed.
So by the start of the Genetic Age, roughly 40 years before it would end, the laws were considered null and interest in the region was regained, causing researches to come around. Unfortunately, as we all know, the Awakening Age would be soon to come, and the only remnants of this research now lies buried within the ruins spanning Athton. All this to say, there are a number of theories explaining the gap: to be clear, the Bronze Age is the only period where zu'aan were absent from the region, and records absolutely do not indicate why. Researches and non-researches alike have long theorized that, due to the somewhat recent arid compositiong of Athton, being a dry field rather than a desert, it had been caused in near history, by something like a meteor impact, regular desertification, or a lake drying up.
Of course, others simply claim that the region was too hostile for zu'aan, and so they abandoned it until they had better resources and then came back. But the truth remains unknown.
Athton is an extremely arid region emcompassing 6,032 square kilometers, a relatively small expanse of land located within the reaches of the Canlai continent of Taerel. It is not a desert, though in time it is theorized/predicted it will become one, and it does not border on any deserts either. The climate in the region is not particularly dry, though still moderately hot, just enough to prevent the growth of plants and the fight against desertification, and it remains very much an outlier against the surrounding lush regions, causing the theories that it had been made this way by an external random factor, like a natural disaster. The zu'aan that lived in Athton prior to the apocalypse.
However, in particular the few researchers that were appointed in the start of the modern ages while sanctions were still in place and there was avid interest in the region, know the truth: that Athton had, rather boringly, had been a lake prior to the Copper Age and start of zu'aan civilization. It is believed that zu'aan managed to thrive in the area during the Copper Age by surviving off of the few remaining ponds and smaller lakes left behind by the larger one, but once those dried up, the region was left alone until civilization had the proper means to fully survive the arid lands. What caused such an intense, localized drought that dried up an entire lake of unknown size, however, remains uncertain.
In any case, Athton is now only populated by a few surviving zu'aan tribes, that due to the relative wasteland quality of the region decided to seek shelter there. Old ruins of their cities can be seen spread throughout the land, as well as water basins that have remained and some artificial fields where growing crops is possible. The newer settlements are also present, hidden away from the kin'toni in these barren dry lands. The climate here is dry and hot, though not as nearly as much as it would be in a desert. The climate in the area is mainly derived from its geological properties, as no plant life, coupled with very dry almost desert-like ground, manages to retain and expel heat at very quick levels, making for an arid region.
The climate around Athton is very amiable to zu'aan life, so we can further deduce that it is due to an unknown drought phenomena that the climate in Athton remains exceptional to the rule. It receives little to no precipitation, and it does receive is typically near the border and from nearby regional evaporation. The remaining water basins are sheltered and prevent evaporation, and water is funneled from underground. It does not receive storms, dry or otherwise, but it does receive strong winds and occasional small scale sandstorms - due to the fact that as of yet, there is not a lot of sand, though the number steadily increases. As a pre-desert biome, it has very little variety of plant life and animal life, and mostly serves as a route to better places, usually by birds.
Plant life in Athton is sparse and rapidly declining. It mostly consists of short, dry shrubs and brown grass, as well as some variety of cacti, and little else. Some other forms of flora cling to the rapidly disappearing bodies of water left still in the region, but competition around these subbiomes is tough and more and more species disappear totally from the region each season. Here are some variants that, by force of destiny or their own kinship to survive, have remained uniquely in the Athton Dry Field: Carousca, a dry nut that grows in small, isolated groups of five to seven, usually near cacti or other dry plants. It develops a pale brown, tough nut shaped roughly like a dumbbell, and it produces three spherical seeds within the nut, surrounded by a thin web of plant tissue.
This plant tissue corroded once the nut falls from the tree, and the space around the seeds becomes completely hollow. This makes the nut, once picked up and shaken, make a musical sound similar to rice hitting cardboard. The plant was named after a similar instrument in local zu'aan culture. It grows during winter when the temperatures aren't so harsh and it 'steals' moisture from surrounding plants in order to keep itself alive, as well as from each other. Their limited colony size and selective breeding grounds are a testament to evolutionary intelligence in plant life. Their nuts are edible by zu'aan dietary standards and are commonly found in salads, meat dishes and alongside other local vegetables, charred or toasted.
The seeds can be ground to a fine powder and used as a spice, though they're usually mixed with some others beforehand, to enhance flavor. It has a smoky, slightly burnt flavor which is favored by a lot of locals and goes great with the right compliments. They're becoming more common and spreading in both number and colony size as of the Twilight Age, as colder temperatures bring a slight halt to the neverending heat of Athton. They have a few cultivars, though most of these have died down following the apocalypse and have been replaced by the wild variant, which still holds some variance but not as much. Za'qyo, a golden flower that 'grows in the cracks', as indicated by its name.
Despite its delicate appearance as a small flower with a white bud and frail golden petals, this plant is an extremophile that can be found having relatives in other extreme ecosystems, such as cold deserts and salt mines. It has a very unique system which allows it to grow before it has been planted in soil, removing nutrients off of the atmosphere and whatever its surroundings are. When it does settle upon any kind of soil, it sprawls out an extremely thin web of roots which are able to weave through the earth and locate mineral packets in the soil, garanteeing its survival. Its façade as a frail plant with golden petals is actually an evolutionary byproduct of having a certain chemical, di-ascenetic-metulraine, imbued in its petals, making them have the appearance that they do.
Even so, it grows sparsely and even in extreme enviromnents, it is a rarity to find. The few that are found within Athton, however, can typically be found in extremely arid areas far away from water, the areas that are the most likely to revert to desertification first.
Animal life in Athton is sparse, to say the least. As a pre-desert biome, Athton does not allow for many animal cultures to form and thus suffers from a great general lack of mammal life, herbivore or otherwise. Insects are somewhat abundant, as they are in most biomes, but the species variety is also in decline. Most visible animal life in Athton is, in fact, represented by migratory birds, which do not live natively in the region but use it as passing ground for other more attractive regions. Small mammals can also be found, as well as some species of reptiles. Here are some examples of species native to Athton: Koejee, a reptilian marsupial-like animal that makes nests and abodes from bits of cacti.
They are four legged and take on the appearance of a primate, though they are, in fact, reptilian in nature. They primarly feed on fruit, berries, cacti and sap from bush stalks, as well as dry leaves. This lizard can grow up to seven inches wide, and is commonly found hanging around dry shrubs and tall grass. It is light green, the color of fresh grass, and takes on a darker color in the sun, and a lighter color in the shade. It has four legs, a small and curved abdomen, a large oval head with large round eyes, round ears, and an overhanging tail on its back. They are known to build nests in cacti in the region. They have strong and sharp canines in their mouths, despite being reptilian, and they use these to bite off bits of cacti and cut them up however they like.
These bits and pieces, instead of being eaten, are processed by the koejee, via a chemical which they excrete through their mouths. This chemical will 'purify' the cactus tissue, making it unable to decompose and effectively killing all envolving bacteria. It will use these to protect the holes it burrows in cacti, sort of making its way in the plant and then sealing the entrance with a makeshift door. It will lay eggs in this enclosure and use it to hide from predators. They are commonly hunted by zu'aan and are eaten grilled over a fire. Iasy, also called isahyr, meaning 'rainbow' and 'rainbow dragon'. They are bird-like mammals only twelve to fourteen centimeters tall, with large, sprawling limbs and a narrow and bent at the middle torso that is capable of curving itself at very odd angles.
They are generally coated in a thin layer of light brown fur, with variance in darkness, and have deep blue eyes. They have round ears, in two pairs of three, that are able to pick out even the most miniscule sound. Unlike some of their peers, they are not blind and detect their enviromnent through sight and hearing alone. They have a short nose and fanged mouth, ideal for eating insects and small fruit. They have large wings which they use to glide around the desert. Their legs are strong and they use them to impulse themselves off the ground, using the wings as air resistors in order to fly. They cannot 'fly' otherwise. They prefer eating and hunting at night, and as a colony species they have specific and complex mating rituals.
The females are nearly identical to the males. They act mischeviously and sometimes aggressive in the presence of zu'aan, though they can be befriended with food. They are skinny and provide little meat, so they are not hunted by zu'aan much.