Geography & Resources
Not far north of the great islands that surround Bluehaven lies the Daragni Archipelago, dominated by two large crescent-shaped islands that enclose a sheltered lagoon, the flooded remnants of an enormous ancient volcanic caldera. The larger island, Greater Daragni, rises from the sea in nearly sheer cliffs on its southern face. Over the spine of the mountain ridge, the steepness and ruggedness of Greater Daragni gradually declines as one goes north. Springs in the ridge flow together into a small river that descends over many waterfalls until reaching ground in the foothills. From there the Star River, so called due to the countless tiny white zircons that sparkle from the bed and banks of dark volcanic earth in the right light, flows slow and clear all the way to the sheltered waters of the lagoon, easily navigable by small boat.
Across the lagoon, Lesser Daragni is almost totally flat, having grown up from a coral reef into the gap left by the long-ago shattered crater wall. Although its soil is no more fertile than Greater Daragni’s, its less rugged terrain makes it more suited for mass cultivation, and so more than half of the archipelago’s agriculture is carried out on the Lesser island. The archipelago includes several other islands and atolls poking up from the surrounding reefs, but none large enough to support more than a small village.
The largest settlement in the Daragni Archipelago is Starfall City (though by foreign standards it’s more of a large town), named for its location around the last of the Star River’s waterfalls. It is the capital of the archipelago, home to the Dzaragni family of Dragon-Blooded who give the islands both their rulers and their name. Though not on par with the Houses of the Realm or the Gentes of Lookshy, the Dzaragni bloodline is strong enough to produce at least one Exalt in every generation, always of the Fire Aspect, and Exaltation is considered a prerequisite for the throne. The current queen is no exception, being a Fire Aspect named Dzaragni Harimad.
As might be expected of an island-dwelling people, the Daragnians are master boat-builders, and make extensive (though not exclusive) use of the mastwood tree in their vessels. For everyday use they favor outrigger canoes, with double canoes for heavy-duty work. Large catamarans and trimarans are used almost exclusively for long-distance travel and warfare against the Lintha. Sails are made from the leaves of the pandan tree, which are also used for other relatively hardy textile crafts, like mats and baskets; however, items like ropes, cords, and the majority of clothes are made from the fibers of the abacá tree, which are soft, fine, and even stronger than silk.
The three staples of Daragnian cuisine are rice, fish, and chicken eggs, with various peppers as the primary vegetable. Bananas, breadfruit, and citrus are also fairly common, but chicken meat is considered an occasional luxury for most. Pandan leaves not needed for sailmaking are used to provide a vanilla-like flavoring, alongside several types of ginger, some of which are also used medicinally. The nuts of the mastwood tree are toxic, but yield oil that also has medicinal uses, while candlenuts (from the tree of the same name) can be cooked to make them edible, skewered for use as torches, or crushed to extract lamp oil.
In terms of mineral resources, Daragni doesn’t have much to offer. The mountain ridge yields enough copper and iron to meet the locals’ practical needs, and a small amount of gold and silver, which is used along with semi-precious stones made from the corals that form the archipelago’s reefs and islands in high-status jewelry and adornments. The zircons lining the banks of the Star River (and, indeed, scattered throughout the soil of Greater Daragna), while plentiful beyond count, are nevertheless too small to be of value as gemstones, and have no other known uses.
The Strange Daragnian Fire Dragons wrote:
There is some question among Realm sages whether the blood of Hesiesh is the only blood the Dzaragni bear. Despite the regularity with which they produce Exalted, they almost totally lack aspect markings, and their animas have an unusual appearance. Unlike the swirling flames of most Fire Aspects, the anima of a Dzaragni scion first shows in the eyes, which glow like molten gold, and as they use more Essence, the rest of their body begins to glow and shed heat like hot metal.