Eastern Gornarod

The Gornarod are descendants of human colonists who lived in the highlands of Atelon at the Time of Chaos.  Primarily miners, metalworkers and small farmers, they were saved from the general slaughter because the uplands of Atelon are infested with the Khia parasite. 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 Taikahir.

At the start of the Time of Chaos, 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 Working, a mostly self-sufficient polity, separated from its neighbors by rough mountain terrain and poor communications.

Every highland valley contains a substantial Gornarod village which 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 Working, which serves as a political center for the region.

The Gornarod are divided into three groups.  The Black Gornarod inhabit the high ranges that separate Mulhola from Vempelani.  The Northern Gornarod inhabit the Polonoc Mountains north of the Brissa Gap.  The Eastern Gornarod inhabit the Schodni Mountains (which run south and east from the Brissa Gap to the Guer River) and the Darjevka Mountains (which run from the Guer to the Eastern Sea at City of Kedmah).

The Gornarod of the Schodni Mountains are a fragmented jumble of ten independent workings.  Those in the Darjevka Mountains own allegiance to M'Maoulek, their protector, and are known as the Protectorate.  Eleven workings and five lowland valleys make up the Protectorate.  The Korslik March is not a working, but an independent Rapani territory occupying the Brissa Gap.  It has a resident Eastern Gornarod population of about 3,000, in the Fort Korslik district of Zame Binhanor, its principal city.

The Gornarod Track ties all of the workings of the Eastern and Northern Gornarod together.  It runs from the Eastern Gornarod port city of Kedmah through the Darjevka and Schodni Mountains, across the Brissa Gap, through the Styritsa Mountains, terminating at Makthar Working, the westernmost working of the Polonoc Mountains.

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 workings and in time the trails connected each working to its neighbors.

The Kundar valley and the Drapac Bay were abundant sources of food in the early days of the Time of Chaos.  The first portion of the Gornarod Track to emerge extended from Kedmah to Gostivar Working. 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 Modranie valley to Gostivar.   It tied together the Workings of the Darjevka Mountains, so that merchants could carry food to the mountain workings and return with fabricated metal goods and Khia cloth.  Over centuries, the workings improved the road until it was suitable for wheeled traffic.

In the Schodni Mountains, the development of the Gornarod Track followed a similar pattern but arrived much later.  The Sonse River valley was fertile but more open and subject to L’npei raids.  It was not until the workings of Koznarow, Pozarek, and Vezranin 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 Schodni workings experienced a growth in commerce and consequent development of the Gornarod Track.

The road between Gostivar and Prilep crosses the Guer valley at its narrowest point and connects the Darjevka Mountains to the 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.

From Prilep, the road runs to Vezranin, Holsovic, and Jerhez, the northernmost Schodni Mountain Working on the Gornarod Track.  From Jerhez, the Track follows the Kenor Morsk until it descends into the Brissa Gap.  The Track crosses the Brissa River at a bridge, just east of where the Dro Brissa joins the Brissa.  On the north bank of the Brissa is Fort Korslik.  The Track runs from Fort Korslik to the Moslovar Working in the Styritsa Mountains.

The portion of the Gornarod Track running through the Brissa Gap between Jerhez and Moslovar 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 Fort Korslik.

Going north from Moslovar, the Track becomes more rugged and unreliable.

Villages are common along the Track in the mountains south of the Brissa Gap.  Each village has an inn so the workings don’t bother to provide accommodations.  After the Rapani took control of the Brissa Gap, the Gornarod established fortified inns for travelers going to and from Fort Korslik.  Before that, it was too dangerous to establish places, so the Gornarod traveled in convoys well protected by guards.

The Protectorate, with its broad and fertile valleys, supports a population of 16,360,000, of which more than a quarter live in the Kundar valley hinterland of KedmahGostivar, 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 (Modranie, Upper Amatal, Eastern Guer and Brawa) or uplands with loose affiliation to the workings.  In order of size, the other workings of the Protectorate are Ralovie, Grawiec, Kiskoros, Kacevo, Rimbec, Zasnec, Kolajaki, Zemberik, Serku and Tharmec.  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.

The population of the Schodni workings is 5,590,000 of which Prilep, Vezranin, and Holsovic are the largest and represent roughly 40%.  In order of size, the others are Pozarek, Kotravec, Jerhez, Gradec, Koznarow, Bromoc, and Cerek.

Eastern Gornarod are the primary merchants of Atelon.  They are also the ones most active in the Khia production and are therefore the primary instigators of captive raids against L’npei.

Small groups of Eastern Gornarod serve as mercenaries in the armies of M'Maoulek and on occasion, to provide backbone for the 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 Southern Marches which form a buffer between the homelands of Eastern Gornarod and the Keshdumah.



Long-time gamer, amateur cartographer, living in a world of my own making.

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