Keltur Iron Beach sits pretty far away from the center of Taerel. It got its name from the silvery, iron-like colored sand that’s mixed with various metals. The metals mixed in with the sand have always been very useful resources for the inhabitants of the beach. Some have used them to forge weapons, some to build their homes, and some to make tools for things like fishing. Some have even gone as far as to use them to pierce their skin, creating beautiful designs of metal and skin. No one knows exactly where these pieces of metal came from or why they appeared on this specific shore. Some believe that there are thousands, maybe even millions, of ancient metal ships at the bottom of the sea.
They break apart and come upon the shore after heavy storms, or come with large waves. The inhabitants, over the course of the beach’s history, have been cut off from the outside world. Some had no choice but to adapt, while others preferred it this way. Skeltan City was one of the latter. They settled on the beach as they ran from the kin’toni hordes. They set up high walls, kind of enclosing themselves in darkness to hide. They’ve lived this way, away from the fire, since they settled here. With the cliff at their backs and the sea to their front, it made them hard to find. This, to them, was the perfect place to protect themselves from the kin’toni, other zu’aan, and the light.
They firmly believed that light and fire were extremely dangerous, that light made way for demons. As their religion was based on a god of darkness and shadows, any kind of light, even that of the sun, was not safe for them. This region offered them their sanctuary of darkness. Only a chosen few, light carriers, were able to wield fire. The zu’aan of this city weren’t as violent as they could have been, especially being so cut off. Those isolated from other civilizations tend to resort to their more basic instincts of violence and chaos. Some were able to retain their senses and morality, but many inhabitants of this beach have turned on each other and on themselves.
While the zu’aan here didn’t seem to resort to that, they still had their moments of cruelty. Those accused of breaking their laws were burned alive at the stake. To be engulfed in something that creates light seems to be the cruelest punishment to be inflicted on those who cling to darkness. This beach has seen its fair share of violence, from the cycle of life to the zu’aan and kin’toni inflicting on both each other and themselves. Very rarely has it seen or been a part of conflict beyond its borders. It’s always been internal as the majority of zu’aan who have seeked refuge here wanted isolation from the outside world. Throughout the years since it came to be, it has seemed to draw many like this, those who want protection and sanctuary, to its shores.
Keltur Iron Beach spans nearly fifty square kilometers, making it a relatively small beach that’s shaped like a crescent with one point stretching a bit further than the other. A few small islands, barely a mile long each, sit a bit beyond the top of this crescent point. These islands are bare, but will give animals a place to rest during low tide. Its sandy shores are made up of a mix of sand, sharp rocks, and various metals. Due to this mix, it takes on a silvery color to it. Even the water that washes up on the shore seems to take on a silvery color. Beyond the beach, about a hundred feet away, is a small stretch of woods about ten square kilometers. It separates the beach from a cluster of small mountains.
There is a large cliff that hangs partially over the city that has taken up root on the beach. It stretches a bit over the sea as well, enough that zu’aan can jump off its edge and into the water. There are also large boulders that stretch up several hundred feet on both of the crescent points at the edge of the shore. They go down several hundred feet into the sea as well. These boulders have large cave systems that can only be reached by swimming down. This biggest one sits at the very edge of the smallest crescent point. It has a width of almost one hundred feet, spreading out further under the water. Its top forms a cliff over the water as well.
It has a cave system that is complex and hard to navigate as there are very few air pockets before reaching the large, open inside. The waves are large with strong currents, especially during storms. They crash against the rocks, leaving them clinging with salt and loose plants from the sea. The climate of the beach varies depending on the season. Winters usually bring temperatures in the thirties, but they can easily drop to almost zero, especially as the ice age comes in. Summers are moderate, hardly ever reaching temperatures past seventy degrees. A cold mist is a constant occurrence. It rolls along the shore and through Skeltan City. The sky is almost alway filled with dark clouds that cover the beach in shadows.
There are times where the sun shines down brightly, but this isn’t often. Rainfall is common over the ocean and further away from the shore. It’s also not weird to see snow falling occasionally. There is no vegetation on the beach itself. All plant life either grows in the water or beyond the shore. The only trees that grow in this place are the ones in the small stretch of woods beyond the beach. They easily reach heights of almost sixty feet. Animal life is the same as the vegetation. The majority of animals are of an aquatic species that live within the sea, though there are a few small species that live on the beach beneath the sand.
The majority of plant life lives within the sea as the sand is not a fertile place for them to grow. The zu’aan of Skeltan go for fish more than they do plant as fish has more protein and can fill them up more. Aflonna is a stellate shaped flower that only grows in the underwater caves. They cling to the wall of the caves, soaking in the salt from the sea. The darkness of the caves is what allows them to thrive. Its long petals are a pale blue color that fades to white at the tips. They have a bioluminescence glow to them as well. Aflonna grows in clusters of three and are spread all around the caves, pretty much wherever the water washes up against. It’s believed that the seeds are carried in by the waves.
After they splash against the cave walls, the seeds immediately cling to the surface of the rocks and quickly spread their sticky roots. They open during low tide. While the zu’aan of Skeltan have no use for them, nor do they want to risk their lives to get, previous inhabitants discovered that aflonna can help with nausea and fevers. Elyoil is a dark purple colored sea moss that grows on the large rocks. Small flowers with white, tear-shaped petals in a cross-like formation blooms in it. Hundreds of these flowers bloom in the moss, some of which cluster closely together. Like aflonna, this moss soaks in the salt from the sea, which aids in its growth along with the water.
Elyoil is edible, both the moss itself and the flowers, in its raw form. But it is best eaten after it has been dried or cooked and has a good source of nutrients. The moss is salty, but the flowers give it a sweet taste. The flowers also have a sweet smell to them underneath the smell of salt. If elyoil is wrapped around fish, it can actually speed up the fish drying process as it is a plant that draws in moisture. As long as it stays wrapped around the fish, the nutrients stay packed in from both the fish and the moss. Romena is a large leafy plant that grows on submerged rock forms. The leaves don’t have a uniform shape, each one grows randomly and uniquely. The colors of this plant vary depending on where in the sea it grows.
Those towards the bottom are a deep dark green color, the ones around the middle take on a dark blue-green, and those closer to the surface are a light blue. Their position in the sea also determines how thick the leaves are. They’re thicker the closer they grow to the seafloor and thinner the closer they are to the surface. Many smaller aquatic animal species use the leaves as a hiding spot from larger predators. They have no medicinal benefits and are actually poisonous to zu’aan. The herbivores that eat romena have developed natural immunity to the poison.
The majority of animals that inhabit Keltur Iron Beach are of the aquatic species. Fish make up nearly eighty percent of that. There are also a lot of invertebrates that cling to submerged surfaces. Gokru are dark blue, parasitic invertebrates with thin, but strong spikes that cling to rocks under the water. They’re strong enough to keep them attached against the strong currents. Their bodies are shaped like a thin tube that curls up. When they curl up, their spikes extend to help them protect themselves. Their spikes are fatally poisonous to zu’aan and other aquatic species, secreting a liquid that paralyzes as it enters the bloodstream. They feed on the algae that grows on the rocks.
They are considered an invasive species. There are thousands of gokru that dwell within the sea. It’s also not rare to see one washed up on the beach. Hallysh are a large species of fish that swims close to the surface. They span nearly seven feet and can weigh up to twenty pounds. Their scales are of a silvery color, with the tips being black. There are three large, translucent dorsal fins lining its back, along with several long barbels beneath their mouth that can easily prick skin. These are one of the few species of fish here that have sharp teeth and are carnivorous. The male hallysh are the ones who lay the eggs, and they can easily lay a hundred at a time. Though they are around the top of the food chain, their population is small.
This is due to their cannibalistic nature. Their young are known to attack and eat each other during the first few weeks after they hatch. As they mature, along with eating each other, they begin to eat just about anything that swims past them. Eadinin is a medium sized sea mammal that swims around the mid-level of the sea in large packs. They rest in the underwater caves, often bringing back their kills. Their black skin is smooth but rubbery, allowing the water to run over them without obstruction. They have a length of over fourteen feet, but are surprisingly light in weight at only thirty pounds. They’re reptilian in shape with four legs and a long, strong tail. They are also incredibly fast swimmers.
Sets of five whiskers sit on both sides of their nose. Their eyesight is pretty poor, so they use their ears to help them navigate and hunt. They make a low pitched clicking sound that they use to communicate with each other. Their diet consists mainly of large fish and other sea mammals. They often attack hallysh fish, even though they are not an easy target and will often try to eat them in return. This species of aquatic mammal can survive both in the water and on land, but they prefer to stay in the water. It is rare to see them walking along the beach, though their three clawed footprints can be seen in the sand from time to time.