Chennacatt lay along the northern flank of the Ered Laranor, on an arid plateau bounded by the mountains and the rivers Chenna and Sîresha. It comprised the western portion of Greater Harad, the region the local Apysaic-speaking tribesmen referred to as "Sîrayn." Its modest population was concentrated in riverside towns, especially the walled city of Tartaust. Although some residents of Chennacatt farmed, most of the scattered rural folk herded goats or sheep. They produced wool which, like cotton and flax, was used in the region's thriving cloth and rug industries.
Chennacatt occupied a plateau south of the Sîresha River, rising some 500 to 1000 feet above the water’s surface. The terrain was very flat and extended south from the Siresha to the Tûr Betark and east to the Bru Isra. The plateau was formed early in the First Age when a large volcano (south and west of the Bru Isra) erupted and slowly filled the area composing the plain of Chennacatt. The only feature that broke the plateau was a tributary of the upper Sîresha. Most of the southern bank of the river was bounded by cliffs. Its eastern branch formed a large gorge that extended south from the city of Tartaust. The western branch ran between the plateau and the Tûr Betark. At the headwaters of the western branch, the carved tiers of whole mountain formed the impressive secondary hold of Akhorahil.
The under-populated plateau saw an average of 3 inches of rainfall a year. During the flood season (Sadayn), small ponds held water until early summer. (Non-porous rock layers underlay the plateau.) The temperature was ten to twenty degrees cooler than in the lower lands to the north. Despite the lack of rain, water was available. Small ponds and artesian wells dotted the plateau. The only fertile areas of Chennacatt lay along the Sîresha. Some farming was performed on the plain itself, but the fields yielded scant harvests. Only short grasses flourished. Their abundance made the plain highly prized for grazing sheep and goats.
Flora and Fauna
The flora of Chennacatt was typical of a semi-arid highland plateau. Fibrous grasses intermingled with nettles and gorse predominated. One particularly tough grass stalk was harvested to make a strong linen thread, excellent for weaving into sturdy fabrics. The climate of the plain did not permit the growing of food crops, and the human inhabitants who farmed dwelt near the river, relying on irrigation and annual flooding to water their fields. Their crops included wheat, barley and some legumes. Most were imported from Isra, with but a few species domesticated from local strains, including Kafe and Wifwif.
To supplement the limited agriculture, the inhabitants domesticated a number of the local animals. The first species to be bred in captivity were goats and sheep. Rabbits and cattle formed later additions to the herds. Other animals that still ran wild in Chennacatt included ground squirrels, foxes, some large predatory cats related to the a-lori-ma-lau, wild dogs, song birds, predatory birds (hawks, eagles, and vultures), and lizards. Other animals found in Chennacatt included the Caja and the Hanajaib.
Places of Note
- the Wild Lands south and East, Gazetteer by Pete Fenlon
- Greater Harad, I.C.E. #3111