Type Two lifeform havens
One of the most puzzling aspects of the colonization of the continent of Ewlah has been the discovery of several Type Two lifeform 'havens' - also known as 'arks' and 'oases'. These havens challenged many of our forbearers' preconceptions when they were first discovered - whereas previously it was believed that human activity was essential for the maintenance and progression of all Type Two life, now it appeared as if our presence in the ecosystem was less essential than originally thought.
Havens appear to be unique to the continent of Ewlah. While myths and stories from a number of Societies have referred to previous human inhabitation of the continent, these had generally been discounted as unscientific beliefs rather than rational conclusions. The discovery of the first haven, which included species never before encountered in either of the other continents, challenged this assumption - recent discoveries of ancient cities, for instance in the Land of Oute âl Cive and near the settlement of Úhrtalhke (in the Land of Cantane), have supplied scientific proof that people not only lived on Ewlah many millennia ago, but for a time thrived here.
From this evidence, we can conclude that havens are the result of long-abandoned cultivations achieving a state of self-sufficiency that no longer required human intervention to thrive. Their existence has been instrumental in the colonisation of the continent over recent centuries following the Disaster. At least one Society - that of the Balhe - owe their entire existence to the timely discovery of a native haven of Type Two lifeforms.
- The Jasuu oasis, in the Balhe Land of Frhadose, was discovered in 686, and arguably led to the survival of the people who had fled inland during the Vreski Time of Strife - the event that triggered the formation of the new Society. The oasis falls within the east central valleys habitat, and extends for dozens of kilometers along the upper reaches of the Jasuu river on the western slopes of Zoiznatroluu Frenisonizhuu. The oasis can be classed as a subtropical jungle: new species included the coffee bean and the grey-ringed chickenfowl, alongside new varieties of mango. Most importantly, the oasis provided a soil culture superbly adapted to the valley's geology and climate.
- The Palake ark, in the Bartak Land of Palake, was first discovered in 542 and was one of the main reasons for establishing a settlement in the Froshmuu Palakuu. The haven sits within the northern scrublands habitat, and included new species of bee and soft fruit, in addition to the small cat (different to the domestic cat) for which it has become famous. Some people have argued that the Palake valley is the site of the otherwise mythical kingdom of Krhaa, though many others argue that the Krhaaje valley (named after the myth) to the east is a much better candidate. No ruins have yet been discovered in either valley.
- The Zeenore ark, in the Ambostak Land of Pesane, was only discovered in 1123. Uniquely, it is the only aquatic haven discovered anywhere on the continent. Lifeforms include seemingly mythological creatures such as water-algae, reeds, snails, leeches, shrimps and fish - some of which grow to more than half a metre in length. The haven is at a very high altitude in the north central mountains habitat, which supports very little in the way of Type One lifeforms capable of competing with the ark. No archaeological ruins have been discovered in this region.
A number of other havens have been claimed, though the scientific evidence for their existence is scarce - for instance the Veson haven in the Balhe Land of Ba'hade.
Type Two life beyond the havens
Goats are without doubt a form of Type Two life. Yet they are found throughout the continent of Ewlah, far beyond the borders of the havens. The reason for this is that goats - or rather the microflora living in their stomachs - is able to digest a wide range of Type One lifeforms. The gut flora supply their hosts with all the essential nutrients they require to survive in otherwise inhospitible territory.
The impact of goats on the environment has, in some places, been severe and significant - for instance the Loa Vreski mountains are so heavily cropped by goats that the local environment now differs significantly from the rest of the southern mountains. There are several species of goat living across the continent, ranging in size from 30 centimetres at the shoulder to 1.5 metres - the latter being the giant goat which is now used as a pack animal across the continent.
The goats' ability to survive on Type One vegetation has made the colonisation of the continent much easier than would otherwise have been the case. Not only can people eat the meat and drink the milk produced by the goats as they start the work of soil brewing and cultivation, but they can take the stomach microflora and produce boucha - a sort of living pancake which can be introduced to a wide variety of Type One produce to turn the inedible into life-supporting foods. However, boucha is used only a last resort: each goat's microflora will be adapted to the conditions of its local habitat, thus boucha from one goat may not be able to work on vegetation brought in from a different area or habitat.
Humans are not the only animals to live off the goats. The bush dogs of west-central Ewlah are endemic to the continent, surviving by hunting goats, as are the much less common wild cats of the south eastern jungles.