The Outlands stretch for almost the entire northern border of Iiosia, and only the brave or foolhardy venture to this ice bitten area of the world.
It is a strange land, beset by snow and frost for much of the year, and permeated by odd magical forces which mutated those who came to live there. Unlike in the southern realm of Ghrea, where Black Arc magic has created the vile race of the ghreal, the magic within the Outlands have come to alter creatures in different ways, suggesting that a tainted variant of the Nature Arc grows strong here.
The ferian and the halflings live here; two odd offshoots of other races (humans and dwarves respectably) who were slowly altered by the magical energies at work here. The land itself is cold and bleak, with the northern mountains, the White Peaks, home to some of the more fantastical creatures upon Iiosia.
The Outlands largely comprises the hinterland between the northern shores of the Sea of Stars and the largest mountain range on the face of Iiosia; the White Peak mountains. Its western border ends on the shores of the Rugged Sea and its eastern edge culminates at the ridge of mountains known as The Edge. The White Peaks are a vast range of mountains and volcanoes. Aside from Xakarah, this is one of the most volcanic areas on Iiosia. Eruptions and earthquakes are almost a yearly occurrence somewhere in the region. It is largely a plain, rocky, barren land, where only the most hardy shrubs and grasses can grow. Most of the soil is thin and infertile, and only in the foothills of the mountains, where small, warm streams bring running water from the north and heat from below the volcanoes keep the soils free from frost, can areas capable of sustaining anything more than insect and plant life be found.
The Outlands is a bitterly cold and hostile area. There is a continuous permafrost on the land, which is more often than not covered in several feet of snow. In winter, the temperature can plummet to well below freezing as unforgiving winds blast down from the north over the White Peaks. Because of the barren relief of the land, any creature caught out in such a place will eventually succumb to the cold. The summer months bring sunshine strong enough to melt most of the snow, though the air is still cold enough to kill anyone exposed to it who's unprepared for the conditions. Dark Pass, which is the only crossing point within The Edge, almost always blocks with snow in the winter, meaning that passage to the Outlands via land can only be made in the summer months.
While The Outlands is one of the coldest and bleakest areas upon Iiosia, life can still be found here. The planes are all but lifeless, only barely able to sustain hardy plants and insects.
In the foothills of the mountains offer the only areas where larger life forms can survive. Not only can shelter from the elements be found within caves and deep valleys, but with that shelter comes the ability to farm the infertile soil as well as hunt larger creatures that live within the mountains. Heat enabling from within the mountains keeps the lands clear of frost and snow, enabling primitive farming. Thus, several settlements can be found within the mountains, the largest of which by far is Fang.
Ferians are the most widely spread species within The Outlands, occupying Fang, Hearth, and many smaller settlements in between.
Halflings hail from Hólm, an ancient dwarvern settlement which was separated from the rest of the dwarves long before The Sundering.
Within the mountains some of the most outlandish creatures upon Iiosia make their homes atop the wintery peaks. Griffons and giant eagles are both predator and prey to Ferian settlements. as well as solitary Maloundai.
Fang could be described as the capital of the Outlands. It is certainly the largest and highly populated settlement within its borders. Fang lies within a large, dormant volcano, which is riddled with caverns and passageways carved eons ago through the flows of lava and volcanic activity which rang through the peak. Now, the ferian use these structures as the basis of their main settlement. Life within the mountain is sub-divided into sections, with the higher ranking, Overling ferian living higher up, in the more ventilated, spacious acves and the lower, more mutated individuals living below in the festering caverns of the Underlings.
Hearth is built at the foothill of The Edge mountain range, which border the land of Orondor, on the shores of the Sea of Stars. In its hayday, when Orondor was a thriving kingdom, Hearth was a busy trading settlement and port. The exotic hides and precious gems found within the mountains by the ferian were enough for traders and craftsmen to come to Hearth, where they exchanged foodstuffs, wood, and textiles. The settlement's population had a semi-permanent contingent of humans from Orondor, who shared their knowledge and helped build stonewalls and buildings, replacing the ramshackle huts which had been there before. Since the fall of Orondor, however, harsh times befell the settlement. Trade no longer flew through it, it's fortunes dwindled. What was learnt and gained within the years previously were gradually lost, and the settlement fell into disrepair and ruin. These days, Hearth is but a ruin where just a few hundred Ferian eek out a lonely existence. Most of these ferian would be thought of as underlings, and so prefer to remain here rather than face life within Fang, or have escaped from there.
Hólm was once a large dwarf settlement which once marked the northern-most point of the Dwarvern Kingdom. It was settled by the famous dwarf adventurer, Magnus Fireheart, who was the only dwarf brave (or mad) enough to attempt to sale northwards. He and his crew were missing and presumed dead for 40 years, until word reached Vordaal that Magnus had succeeded in his mission. He had not only landed, but also began the construction of a docks and settlement on the southern shore of a new continent. The dwarves were overjoyed, and sent emissaries to congratulate him, and to certify the ownership of the new settlement for the dwarvern kingdom. It was this latter point that led to the issues that then arose. Whether it was due to the strange magics that emanated from the lands, or due to Magnus's flamboyant personality, but Magnus rejected this, claiming that it was his discovery and therefore he claimed ownership. Outraged, the dwarves sent ships after him, but many sank before they even reached Hólm, and the rest could not penetrate the defences Magnus had built up. They returned defeated, and Hólm was held by Magnus. Magnus lived out his days as the King of Hólm, and his crew began to breed and multiply. Whether it was the limited gene pool, the strange magics of the land, the proximity, to Nethicka and the odd stone that lay within, or a combination of these things, is uncertain, but in the generations which followed the dwarves slowly changed. Becoming smaller, weaker, and losing their facial hair. The modern day halflings of Iiosia were born.
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