The Gornarod are descendants of human colonists who lived in the highlands of Atelon at the . Primarily miners, metalworkers and small farmers, they were saved from the general slaughter because the uplands of Atelon are infested with the . The Khia feed on the reptilian species which are native to the planet, inflicting a slow and agonizing death on their hosts. It is understandable therefore, that the L’npei consider the highlands to be a cesspit and will not venture there unless protected by the .
At the start of the, most of the mining camps turned inward, struggling for simple survival. The camps were isolated from each other by distance and difficult terrain. None of the camps were prepared to feed and sustain the influx of refugees, even though the new arrivals were predominantly farmers, who possessed the basic skills for their own survival.
After the first winter, the situation began to stabilize. Refugees established themselves on the land in the many small valleys and open upland plains of the mountains. Most of the mining camps survived as well, although the winter was hard and losses great. With their existing administrative structure intact, and possessing a relative wealth of goods and resources, most of the camps began to extend their reach into the nearby countryside, gradually bringing order and structure.
This consolidation continued for centuries, as the mining camps evolved into political and economic centers, while expanding the hinterlands that they served. In some regions, there had been only one mining camp, so the expansion was peaceful and organic. In other regions, several camps competed for dominance until one had triumphed or reached an accommodation with its sister camps. Eventually, a dominant camp and its hinterland became a, a mostly self-sufficient polity, separated from its neighbors by rough mountain terrain and poor communications.
Every highland valley contains a substantialwhich draws its sustenance from animal husbandry, small scale agriculture and metal fabrication. A group of villages will support a larger metal-working facility called a , which serves as a political center for the region.
The Gornarod are divided into three groups. The inhabit the that separate from . The inhabit the north of the . The Eastern Gornarod inhabit the Schodni Mountains (which run south and east from the Brissa Gap to the ) and the (which run from the Guer to the at ).
The Gornarod of the Schodni Mountains are a fragmented jumble of ten independent . Those in the own allegiance to , their protector, and are known as . Eleven workings and five lowland valleys make up the Protectorate. The is not a working, but an independent Rapani territory occupying the . It has a resident Eastern Gornarod population of about 3,000, in the district of , its principal city.
The Gornarod Track ties all of the of the Eastern and together. It runs from the Eastern Gornarod port city of through the and Schodni Mountains, across the , through the , terminating at , the westernmost of the .
After the L’npei re-conquest of the lowlands the Gornarod Track evolved slowly. Existing mining camps accepted what refugees they could and resettled them quickly in outlying villages. Trails developed within the and in time the trails connected each working to its neighbors.
The Gornarod Track to emerge extended from to . From Kedmah in the south east, the Gornarod Track travels west up the Kundar valley and then passes over the uplands and back down into the to Gostivar. It tied together the , so that merchants could carry food to the mountain workings and return with fabricated metal goods and . Over centuries, the workings improved the road until it was suitable for wheeled traffic.and the were abundant sources of food in the early days of the . The first portion of the
In the Schodni Mountains, the development of the Gornarod Track followed a similar pattern but arrived much later. The was fertile but more open and subject to L’npei raids. It was not until the workings of , , and banded together to fortify and garrison the mouth of the valley that it was settled and farmed. Once a surplus of food became available in the Sonse valley, the experienced a growth in commerce and consequent development of the Gornarod Track.
The road between Schodni Mountains. Later Gostivar and Prilep established outposts on the north and south sides of the Guer valley so that their garrisons could secure the passage through the valley and protect travelers on the road between their workings.and crosses the at its narrowest point and connects the to the
From Jerhez, the northernmost on the Gornarod Track. From Jerhez, the Track follows the until it descends into the . The Track crosses the at a bridge, just east of where the joins the . On the north bank of the Brissa is . The Track runs from Fort Korslik to the in the ., the road runs to , , and
The portion of the Gornarod Track running through the between Jerhez and did not develop until well after the Gornarod had established their civilization in the Schodni highlands. Even then, Schodni Gornarod traveled the route in times of peace only, and then only to trade at .
Going north from Track becomes more rugged and unreliable., the
Villages are common along the Track in the mountains south of the . Each village has an inn so the don’t bother to provide accommodations. After the Rapani took control of the Brissa Gap, the Gornarod established for travelers going to and from . Before that, it was too dangerous to establish places, so the Gornarod traveled in convoys well protected by guards.
, with its broad and fertile valleys, supports a population of 16,360,000, of which more than a quarter live in the hinterland of . , with a population of 682,000, is a distant second. Collectively including Gostivar, the smaller workings represent roughly one fifth of the population. The balance live in the other river valleys ( , , and ) or uplands with loose affiliation to the workings. In order of size, the other workings of the Protectorate are , , , , , , , , and . Tiny Tharmec (population 41,670) is little more than a military outpost, perched on an rocky outcrop that dominates the southern approach to the upper Amatal valley.
Small groups of Eastern Gornarod serve as mercenaries in the armies of Keshdumah armies. Organized Eastern Gornarod forces frequently fight as the allies of the Rapani against Keshdumah incursions. The Eastern Gornarod also provide support and aid to the which form a buffer between the homelands of Eastern Gornarod and the Keshdumah.and on occasion, to provide backbone for the