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The Velvet Strand - Picturesque Home of the Perytons

 

Sloping out of the western waters of Cirrus lake is a large series of tranquil, hilly islands that is home to the peryton race known as the Velvet Strand. This island chain is arguably the most tranquil area in all of the known world. Surrounded by shallow, clear water which mirrors the world around it and lush with silvery grass and countless wildflowers, these verdant islands are bright with life and harmony. The air, the flora - even the dirt of the Strand is pure and beautiful. This is thanks to the innate magic of the peryton who have been living here since the formation of the Great Nimbusgait Lakes. When living together in herds, their passive magic acts upon the world of its own volition. It purifies land, air and water and breathes life into everything around their herds. After countless generations living on the Velvet Strand their magic has transformed it into something wholly irresistible: a fact that they are very aware of.

 

In order to maintain the natural beauty of their islands, very little is done to alter its pristine, natural state. Aside from a network of silvery aspenwood bridges which connects even the smallest islands of the Velvet Strand, there is no modern construction to speak of - at least not on the surface. Homes and businesses here are all built into the hilly slopes of the islands, the entrances completely grown-over with flowering vines. A home or business address is defined by the district names carved into the nearest bridgepost and the type of flower growing upon one’s door. Even the interior decoration is rustic, the mentality of “less is more” very apparent in peryton tastes. Being a species known for its undeniable natural beauty has certainly influenced the way they view the world around them. If something is not beautiful in its own simplicity then it is simply not beautiful: no amount of dressing up a wooden chair with velvet and jewels could improve upon the colour of the wood nor the artistry in its grain. Minimalism is key in their design and architecture: too much ornamentation is viewed as tacky and tasteless.

This very same mentality has resulted in very little curation of the flora of their islands (excluding those northernmost islands dedicated to agriculture). A lack of forested areas or modern construction results in the Velvet Strand appearing surprisingly nondescript from a distance - even trees are a rare sight here. For any who are unfamiliar with the peryton homeland, it would even be easy to believe the islands are uninhabited. Of course, drawing near the islands would still pull any traveler in - they are home to the largest herd of peryton in the known world, after all. The natural magnetism of their magic and the sheer size of their herd beckons any travelers who venture near the islands like a siren-song that lives in the very air of Cirrus Lake.

The true splendor of the Velvet Strand, however, can only be viewed at night. Sitting in the middle of still water that mirrors the sky and home to thousands of fireflies that are drawn to the flowers which bloom here, a clear night on these islands can only be described as otherworldly. Above, below, and all around you is starlight. Wading into the shallows of Cirrus Lake at night, it is easy to feel as though you are suspended in the night sky itself. There is very little to distract one from the lovely vision of the stars beyond carefully-tended torches near the bridges and the tiny, glowing fireflies which float around you. It is no wonder that the peryton who live here are so eager to preserve the natural beauty of their islands - to detract from such an experience would be tragic, and it certainly would not help with tourism. Many travel to the Velvet Strand just to experience a single night on the waters of Cirrus Lake, and having experienced it I can certainly understand why.

Equestrian Travels Volume 4, Journal no.136, penned by Ryx Blackwing, Aquellian Archives

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