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Ataqim is a vast archipelago made up of about 2000 islands. It is the seat of an Empire that covers nearly half the globe.

Ataqim's climate is tropical — the temperature rarely goes below 45° Fahrenheit (7° Celsius). During the hot season, a temperature as high as 85° F (30° C) is considered average, and the high humidity can make it feel much hotter. The average temperature in the cool season is somewhere around 60° F (16° C). Rainfall is very heavy for one season of the year, and almost nonexistent the rest of the time.

The archipelago of Ataqim is a volcanic formation, but most of the undersea volcanoes which formed the islands are long extinct. Because of the nature of their formation, many of the islands, less affected by erosion from the sea because of their shape or location, are very mountainous and rocky. Others, worn down by millenia of wind and water, have very fertile soil. A few other islands are atolls or coral formations built up on top of undersea volcanic formations.



Common varieties of plants on the archipelago include all sorts of grasses, shrubs, and trees. Many types of fruit-bearing plants are grown and used by the people of the islands. Trees in the forests are mostly broad-leaved evergreens. Spring brings an incredible spectrum of flowers to the islands.

There are several types of plant that are less common or exceptional in some way; these are described below.

Bluefire tree
Wood from this tree burns very slowly and with a bright, hot, beautiful blue flame. It is very rare — one of the only known sources of it is Bieil island.
Quaral (Sweetflower)
The powdered leaves of this plant are used as a food sweetener. The taste is reminiscent of the beautiful smell of the flower.
Saral (Sleepflower)
The petals of this orange flower taste like cinnamon and cause sleep when ingested. It blooms for a very short time late in summer, and is difficult (but not impossible) to store while retaining its potency.


Ataqim is home to a wide variety of animal life. In the plains, all sorts of herbivores — large rodents, antelope, goats, sheep, small cattle, ponies, and elephants — feed on the plant life there, and are in turn fed upon by such carnivores as lions, cheetahs, eagles, falcons, owls, and large monitor lizards. Griffons and their cousin hippogriffs also feed upon the larger grazing animals, and the occasional dragon will eat anything it comes across.

In the forested areas, the plentiful vegetable materials are eaten by small bears, monkeys, wild swine, songbirds in hundreds of varieties, deer, and rodents, as well as a wide spectrum of ants, beetles, flies, and so on. Carnivores in the forests include spiders and scorpions (including very large species, able to threaten even a human), lizards and toads, birds of prey, snakes — both constrictor and poisonous (including, again, giant varieties), mongooses, small wild cats, and two-foot-long "pseudo-dragons."

Other species found on the archipelago include large flies, termites, bees, and mosquitos, frogs, turtles, and tortoises, and various carrion birds.

The coastal seas, of course, hold many animals. Turtles (some growing to an enormous size), shellfish, jellyfish, eels, rays, small sharks, barracuda, octopi, squids, sea urchins, large crabs, seals, and many kinds of fish, including poison-spined fish and flying fish, abound. The larger sharks have been known to come well within the range of small fishing boats, and they can be a serious menace to the fishers of the island.

While, in general, animal forms are familiar, species on Ataqim tend to be different from those found on our planet. For example, a common variety of wild cat found in forests across the archipelago is called miaqag, or "barbarian cat", due to its curly, leonine mane and vertical markings under its eyes which make it resemble a northern chieftain in war makeup. A species of monitor living far up the Naqlir River has six or sometimes eight legs, and is commonly known, for obvious reasons, as a pseudo- or false basilisk. Similar to pegasi, winged antelope called elsiai are regularly seen in fields and seacoasts, very well adapted to escape most predators!

Other species bear less resemblance to terrestrial animals. The solias, for example, is a large herbivore found in grassy, hilly regions. It vaguely resembles a large, compact, six-legged cattle with a bushy mane, long ears and a horse's tail. It is very sensitive to sound, and will react violently to any loud, unpleasant noise (such as thunder or sounds of combat). On the other hand, it is easily charmed by music. Despite its diet, it can be very dangerous due to its excitability and its massive size (they stand about 5' tall at the shoulder).