The Falai Lively Savannah has had its share of zu’aan activity throughout its history, giving it its “lively” name. Zu’aan looking for a permanent place to settle down in. City dwellers who wanted to brag about living with the beasts of the savannah, temporarily settling down before realizing that life there was a lot harder than they thought. Nomads who were simply passing through, taking in the sights. Poachers who hunted rare animals for their teeth, fur, horns, and bones to sell or show off with. Even researchers would settle down for a few months, some for a few years, to study how the environment would change during the wet and dry seasons. Maertton City was one of those who wanted to permanently plant their roots.
Once a nomadic tribe on the run from the kin’toni, the zu’aan of Maertton City stumbled upon the Falai Lively Savannah. Those first years were tough. Most of them didn’t even know what a savannah was, so they were completely unprepared for what was to come. The stark difference between the wet and dry season threw them for a loop. The lack of rainfall made water scarce, especially since they had settled several miles away from the river running through the savannah. The heat made it hard to trek through the savannah to reach it. It took them years to realize that certain plants congregated around water veins under the ground. Once they secured viable water sources by digging wells into the veins and discovering some of the water retaining plants, the next problem arose.
Animals were definitely the kings and queens of the savannah. There were animals twice their size, ones that would attack if they came near, ones that would stalk them from within the tall grass or the trees, and ones that had no qualms about traipsing around in their city and in their homes. Some of the animals that they hunted during the wet season would migrate during the dry, severely cutting down their source of meat. And it was the same with some of the plants. Most would wither and die during this time. With the dry season came the high temperatures, and with that came the fires. Some fires started by themselves, quickly sweeping through the savannah. Over the years, the zu’aan had to rebuild parts of their city countless times due to the fire.
Even though the fire was destructive, they realized that the soil would become nutrient-rich not too long after the fire was finished. After that realization, they started doing controlled burnings. This helped them to not only “refresh” the soil, but also hopefully put a stop to their city from being destroyed. The kin’toni were still a problem, even after they settled. But, luckily, the animals in the savannah liked the zu’aan far more than they did the kin’toni. In the presence of the mutated monsters, the animals become even more aggressive. Their keen senses seemed to warn them about the kin’toni. Snarls, growls, and screams could often be heard as the animals attacked.
The Falai Lively Savannah is a wide stretch of land that spans roughly 3,125 square kilometers. Considered a transitional biome, it's not quite a forest but it also hasn’t reached the full requirements to be called a desert. There is a river stretch several hundred miles through the middle of the savannah. It has a tropical wet and dry climate with temperatures easily reaching the high nineties. Seasons aren’t the typical winter and summer of other regions. Instead, there is a dry season with little to no rainfall and a wet season with an abundant amount of rainfall. The dry season takes up most of the year. The temperature of the savannah is mostly determined by rainfall. Before it rains heavily, temperatures rise.
Afterwards, temperatures drop. But, no matter the season or amount of rain, it hardly ever falls below sixty-five degrees. Snow does not fall, as the temperature does not drop low enough. Due to the dry season taking up most of the year, fires are a common occurrence. The dry heat along with the dry vegetation, like shrubbery and dry grass, helps the fire spread. The fires force animals to migrate as they destroy their homes and will often encroach on zu’aan settlements. There have been many zu’aan homes destroyed by the fires. It has also forced some plants to develop fire resistant traits. They’ve adapted thick outer shells to protect their insides or liquids that quell the flames as they approach.
These fires also have their benefits. Fire keeps the other environments around it from taking over the savannah, while also keeping the savannah from taking over the other biomes, especially the surrounding forests with their high tree covers. Sometimes, zu’aan will start fires to help stimulate the soil for new growth. There are certain animals that benefit from the fires as well. Scavenging, or death eating, animals are left with a feast after the fire recedes as there are plenty of animals that don’t get away in time. This death, in turn, helps add more nutrients to the soil. Unlike a forest, the trees here are scattered around and its grass is tall in most areas, especially during the wet season.
The grass can grow to nearly twelve feet in some areas, making it hard for zu’aan to notice predators stalking them. During the wet season, vegetation is lush and bright as lots of rain falls. During the dry season, vegetation is dry and dead as rain hardly falls. The lack of rain makes farming and animal upkeep hard. With that being said, the soil of the savannah is actually pretty rich in nutrients. Both plants and animals have adapted to the environment. Animals usually migrate during the dry season as droughts are common and to get away from the fires. Some plants close up during the dry season to retain their water. Others have characteristics that allow them to store water while still in full bloom and stretch their roots down deep into the ground.
During the wet season, vegetation is abundant, lush, and bright. There are plants that grow and bloom in the dry season, even with the lack of rain. These plants have adapted and developed characteristics that allow them to store and retain water. Some have roots that stretch down into the ground to find water. There are also plants that have developed natural defenses against the fires that occur often during the dry season. Rumosa is a red flower with upward spiral shaped petals clustering from different, short stalks at the top of one tall, horizontal stem. These flowers grow in clusters of at least a dozen in one area. It has dozens of petals that spread out like a fan. Rumosa only blooms during the wet season.
In the dry season, its petals dry and wither while its stem shrinks a bit. A sweet smell wafts from them. When added to cooking, it makes the food sweet as well. Rumosa can be eaten raw or cooked, Other than being able to ease nausea, they have no other medicinal benefits. It eases nausea faster when eaten raw, as it doesn’t retain all of its benefits when cooked. Aesrage is a flower that secretes a flame resistant liquid that quenches the flames that engulf it. These flowers grow year round. Its roots reach deep beneath the ground, soaking up moisture during the dry season. Its white petals form an urn shape that is almost the size of the palm of an average adult male zu’aan.
It has small thorns, barely two cenimeters tall, placed all over it. These thorns are what produces the liquid that protects the flower from fire. They grow on short, thick, green stems in groups of three straight from the ground. Aesrage has a large population and can be found all over the savannah. Its roots are what allows such growth since they are able to absorb water during the dry season. Due to the liquid it secretes, this flower is inedible for zu’aan. But the zu’aan do use the liquid as a coating when they do a controlled burning to protect their hands. But, there are a few species of animals with a natural immunity that can safely consume it. Large clusters of these flowers grow in areas where there are large water veins.
This lets zu’aan know where they could dig wells to supply their water source. Ousnuim are one of the few tree species in the savannah. They stretch up about twelve feet and have surprisingly thick branches. Its bark is a pale yellow color with dark gray stripes. The trunk is only a few inches high before it branches out randomly. Its leaves create a thick canopy, enough to create shade for slumbering animals. It’s not shocking to see some animals lazing around on the lower branches as they try to escape the sun and the heat. They are sparse in their growth with, maybe, four in the same area and have a small population.
Despite the lack of water during the dry season, there are a variety of mammal, bird, insect, and amphibian species that inhabit the Falai Lively Savannah. A majority of them migrate during the dry season, but there are some who have been able to adapt to it. Hadsin are a large breed of bird, one of the largest in the savannah. They build their nests on the thick branches of ousnium trees. Their long feathers are a gradient of black to red, with the ones on its head being completely black. The black crest of feathers on their head form a horizontal fan with red tips. Black, vertical slitted pupils are surrounded by startling red irises. They reach a height of nearly five feet and have a wingspan of eleven feet across.
Their claws are sharp enough to cut through flesh, muscle, and bone. As they are scavengers, their diet consists only of dead and decaying animals and zu’aan. While they only eat the dead, they have been known to attack and kill other animals as well. They will drag the newly killed towards their nest and wait a few days before eating it. Thanks to hadsin, the zu’aan that inhabit the savannah associate the colors red and black with death. They don’t migrate during the dry season, mainly since they get to eat the most during this period of time. Earet are one of the smallest mammals that inhabit Falai. Their short fur is a golden brown color and they have bright yellow eyes.
They walk on four legs, but can also walk on just two. While on four legs, they stand at nearly a foot. On two legs, they stand at almost three. Their long, bushy tails add almost another foot to their length. They are extremely fast and are able to evade most predators. Their bodies are thin, enough to where a child can almost wrap both their hands around it. Earet are docile creatures and very friendly. They can often be found around zu’aan, especially the children, who will give them fruit and flowers to eat. They especially love the sweet taste of rumosa petals. Earet can easily be domesticated. These animals burrow into the ground, making holes within the tall grass. They migrate during the beginning of the dry season,
Budicrian are a rare amphibian species that has six legs. They can grow, along with their tails, to almost two feet long. The breed of amphibian is scaleless. Instead of scales, this amphibian has thick red and white striped skin that retains moisture. They are often found within the rivers as they are able to live underwater. Their gills close up when they are on land, allowing the air to come through the wide mouths. Budicrian are the only animal in the savannah that can live both on land and in water. Their diet consists of insects and plants. They have a relatively small population and a short life expectancy. Budicrian only live up to five years.