River Xangu



The River Xangu (meaning “life” in the language of the local Bestu pygmies) is the largest river, by both volume and length, in Dheathain. Excluding tributaries, the majority of its length runs along the floor of the region's western valley. Peripheral valleys drain into the western valley giving the River Xangu an extensive catchment area. It is located to the west of the Fiorair Rainforest, which itself forms the neighbouring river basin. Due to the mountainous terrain of the region, the river's floodplain is particularly narrow which in turn causes river levels to rise significantly during annual periods of heavy rainfall. Increased water levels trigger breeding behaviour in a large number of the river's fishes. Also attributed to the valley's steep flanks is the clear nature of the river's water, without opportunities for vegetation to decay in swampy floodplains tannins cannot leach and stain the waterway. However, Xangu's delta is wide ranging and swampy. Tidal changes in salinity mean the river's estuary hosts a number of species adapted to the brackish water that do not exist in the open ocean, nor upstream. The shallow channels of the river's delta are impermanent and as such cannot be used for navigation, upstream of the delta the river becomes mostly navigable. The Drakari government debated creating permanent channels to make the entire course of the river accessible, but decided against doing so as the difficulty caused by the interference of the local people outweighed any possible benefits.

[top]Culture of the Bestu People

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Going largely uninhibited by the nearby Drakari civilisation, a race of pygmies have made the river's banks their home. The Bestu are known for their elaborate fishing ceremonies and magnificent hardwood carvings. Examples of carvings are on display at Radasanth's Museum of Taxidermy and Exotic Arts. They have limited trading connections with both the Drakari and Fae people of the region. A journal written by Dr. June Mixelrut detailing the Bestu's team game, “trenchball”, was well received when published in Radasanth's most popular newspaper.


[top]Exploration


Since the exploration of Dheathain by outsiders began, there have been a number of expeditions sent to chart and document the River Xangu and its tributaries. The most well known of these expeditions was that of Dr. June Mixelrut and her team. Funded by a group formed of Radasanth's prominent business leaders, her official goal was to identify plant and animal species from which her benefactors could profit. However, she focused mostly on scientific documentation and specimen collection without considering the profitability of her work.


[top]Tributaries


The River Xangu has three main tributaries.

[top]The River Antzu

The River Antzu is a main tributary of the River Xangu. The Antzu merges with the River Xangu close to its estuary, increasing its breadth considerably. This waterway runs parallel to the River Xangu along the floor of the same valley. Due to its mostly flat course, the Antzu is a slow moving river making it home to a broad range of flora and fauna. The River Antzu's banks are home to a number of Bestu settlements, the largest of which is Tszu-Tszo Town. In addition to the various Bestu settlements, there is also a Bestu religious centre called Tantu-Wantu.

Gravity Falls
Known as the Pantu-Punto to the local Bestu people, the gravity falls are a point in the river's course where the water travels upwards over a small incline. The cause of this is currently unknown. Dr. June Mixelrut wrote about the upward falls during her expedition to the area. When her report was published in Radasanth it was widely believed to be an attempt at garnering financial support for a second expedition. Her entire team corroborate her account. Radasanth's prominent scholars believe that a form of magic must be involved, rather than a natural process.

Tszu-Tszo
Tszu-Tszo is the largest of the Bestu settlements. Central to its layout is the council roundhouse, this is where their elected officials gather to govern. More prominent than the roundhouse is the Tszo Cathedral, the pinnacle of Bestu architecture. The cathedral is made of carved boopadoon ivory. Tszu-Tszo is surrounded by walls made from hard wood frames, filled with earth and stone. At its highest point the wall is 25 feet high, but is at least 15 feet all the way around. Guard towers have been erected at regular intervals. Rooftop gardens are very common in Tszu-Tszo, most residents grow their own vegetables on top of their homes. A half mile into the forest from Tszu-Tszo a large pit can be found, this pit was dug to accommodate the deaths incurred as a result of the red plague that affected the area 13 years ago.

Tantu-Wantu
Tantu-Wantu is a sacred spot on the river's bank, the Bestu people have used this site as a location for the ritual sacrifice of their enemies for hundreds of years. A stone alter, claimed to be carved from moon rock, is used by the reigning high shaman to dismember living victims. Once various body parts have been removed, they are fed to the gathered boopadoons.

[top]River Calbu

The River Calbu is a main tributary of the River Xangu, it is another slow moving river covering the narrow valley floor. Thus far, little is known about the Calbu. Dr. June Mixelrut decided not to venture upstream as she deemed it too similar to the Xangu to be of interest. Having questioned the locals, Mixelrut's suspicions were confirmed. Bestu naturalists confirmed that the Calbu mostly contained the same species as the Xangu.

While not known for its biological diversity, the River Calbu is, however, an important body of water for Bestu and human shaman. The god Fase is believed by the Xangu peoples to have created all the rivers. However, the Calbu is his favourite. Drinking from the Calbu is believed to improve a shaman's ability to communicate with the dead, transform into animals and visit other worlds. The region's most famous shaman, Do U, is thought to have drank from the River Calbu prior to opening portals to other dimensions.

[top]River Noku

The River Noku is a main tributary of the River Xangu. It is the only major tributary of the river that is fast flowing. It is located on the incline of the Xangu valley's western side. This river meets the River Xangu near its estuary. The fast flowing waters of the Noku meeting the Xangu's slow moving water create a whirlpool. Around the whirlpool is known as a good fishing spot by the Bestu people, it is believed the churning waters stir up the river's sediment creating an abundance of food for fish. Many wiki=Bestu]Bestu[/wiki] fishers drown while attempting to fish in the area. The most notable species living in the River Noku is the Kissing Carp.


[top]Ecosystem


The River Xangu is home to a large number of unknown plant and animal species. The following is a lost of species that have been described by Dr. June Mixelrut.


[top]Jaguar, an Invasive Species


The River Xangu and its basin has become home to a variety of invasive species. Chief among them was the introduction of the Earth species, the jaguar. The human shaman Do U mastered the ability to travel between worlds. After his first trip to Earth to engage the shamans and witchdoctors of their world, he brought back a number of jaguar cubs to breed and release into the jungles of Dheathain. Since their release, they have adapted well to life in Dheathain and have even dislodged the evertu as the apex predator in their habitat.


[top]Xangu Basin Series

This entry is part of a series on Dheathain's Xangu River Basin.



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