The Winterlands

The Winterlands

Beware the mountains!

All in Kartharka know and fear the Mountains of the great North.
Source of all Iron and Wealth but locked in an endless Ice Storm against which the Men of the Mountains fight to wrest the precious ore from it’s frozen prison.

Hot springs dot the land sparsely. Living on top of there are those who keep the roads and passes free for the black caravans of the Emperor.  But the springs are far too few to provide food and shelter to the hordes of Mountain men and tribesmen who work the slopes of these nightmare cliffs.

Absolutely necessary is the food of the Empire

which flows to the North. The people who work the Mountains cluster in great sprawling shanty towns which surround the Imperial Refineries that dot the landscape.
But the proud people of the mountains are different from those of the steppes and plains of Kartharka. They do not pay the Southern Price. Their children are free from the slavers wagons.  For they and they alone know the hiding places or Iron, and the ways of dragging it from the ground.  They are the Iron men and they pay no tax. They instead buy food from the caravans with their Iron. A distinction that makes the Iron men a race apart in Kartharka.

The emperors food allow the Mountain men’s cities to thrive and prosper, they rule themselves, and withing the mountain lands their rule is law.  All the peoples of the mountains bow to Mining law which keeps the food flowing.

The greatest concentration of Mountain men lie within the valley of Fangs, a ledge carved from the mountains and completely surrounded on all sides by great broken peaks.  This home of the first men is accessible only by two great highways running underground. One in the valleys east, leading to the foothills, through the treacherous autumn lands and to the empire. The second highway leads to the west, to the great Deadlands of the Fang Valleys sister, the Valley of Night.

Legend says

these two valleys were both majestic city states of the gods, whose warring caused the great cataclysm which split the seasons asunder leaving the world of Kartharka the strange and broken place it is today. None travel to or from the Valley of Night. No legends speak of treasure in the Valley and no traveller ever returns from there to speak of what they have seen.

Rumour and legends of the mountains speak of  a terrible past and lingering evil in the hollows and passages of ancient mines and buried cities. Some say that evil sorcery still lingers in places throughout the mountains, atop towering peaks and in blasted hollows, bubbling to the surface to attack, defile and destroy.

Ancient legends say; sorcery and vile magic, once the very lifeblood of the world of Kartharka, was gathered and directed like a toy by the gods in the time before the cataclysm. These powerful magics are now gone from the world, along with the terrible creatures which they conjured up. Sorcerers and gods, demons and witches, goblins, trolls, pixies and stonekin, all lost in the flames and storms of the great cataclysm that pushed the great mountains out of the earth.

Sages and scholars still gather and covet ancient relics said to contain great power in the time before, though they now serve no purpose, lying dormant and useless on their shelves, reminders only of when men could control great power with mystic rituals and powerful words.
It is said creatures still live deep within the earth, where rivers of sorcery still flow, bubbling up with these foul magics at times, out of mines and caves to wipe settlements of men off the map, or drag miners down into the world beneath Kartharka.

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