The Wanderers colonized Atelon for an eon before the Time of Chaos.  Initially, the Wanderers built a mining and metalworking colony that pulled Hesperium from the mines of the Czarni Mountains.  In time, the colony established ranches and farms in the Central Plains and the colony flourished and grew.  New mining camps were established in the Schodni Mountains to supply the mineral requirements of the growing colony, and farmland was cleared in the east along the Dunafolda, Vari, Kala and Valiki river valleys.

When the Guardians spread their blanket of the Taikahir over the world, the Wanderer machines and Wanderer weapons failed. A cunning L’npei named Shirzal united 108 clans of the northern forests and led them on raids against the Wanderer settlements of the Central Plains.  Emboldened by his early successes and encouraged by the Guardians, Shirzal intensified his attacks, overrunning a number of small agricultural centers.

In desperation, the Wanderers gathered all of their trained military forces and a makeshift militia to defend the western administrative center.  Without adequate weapons, their ill trained militias were forced to fight the L’npei at close quarters.  The destruction was overwhelming.  Shirzal named the place Vempelani (God’s Feasting Place) to commemorate the slaughter that occurred there.

After the Battle of Vempelani, Wanderer resistance collapsed.  The L’npei swarmed over the lowlands, killing the Wanderers and burning their structures and machines.

The Gornarod are descendants of the miners, metalworkers and small farmers who lived in the highlands of Atelon at the Time of Chaos.  They were saved from the general slaughter because the uplands of Atelon are infested with the Khia parasite. The Khia feed on the L’npei and related native species, 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 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.

The Khia Caravan Route is the only line of communication between the Eastern and Black Gornarod.  The eastern terminus is the Working of Prilep in the Schodni Mountains and the western terminus is Chelizor in an outlier of the Czarni Mountains.  From Chelizor, the route continues up through the Czarni Mountains to Hesperia, the dominant working in the west. The Route traverses the Tarnamura Plateau well north of the northern edge of the highland rainforest.  There are no settlements from Prilep to Chelizor, but the great trading houses of Prilep have erected simple shelters for travelers and their beasts along the Route.

The Gornarod average 1-½ meters in height and are powerfully built.  They are human in ancestry, but covered with fur except for the palms of their hands, the soles of their feet and the upper half of their face. There are approximately 22,000,000 Eastern Gornarod.

The Eastern Gornarod are the primary merchants of Atelon.  They are also the ones most active in the Khia production.  Khia Cloth is much prized by the Black Gornarod.  It is a lightweight lustrous fabric woven from a filament excreted by the Khia parasite.  The Eastern Gornarod hunt and capture reptilians from the lowlands, then infect them with the parasite.  The finest Khia cloth however, comes from an infected L’npei.  It is most prized because it has a natural color. So the Eastern Gornarod are also 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.

The Eastern Gornarod follow the way of E’lani but lack the true devotion of the L’npei.  They’re a constant source of aggravation for the Guardians because there is always some metal worker among the Gornarod who cannot resist the temptation to tinker and build.  E’lani and the Gornarod live in an uneasy relationship.  The Folk grudgingly follow the doctrine, but periodically are raided by the Guardians, who destroy a metal-working with forbidden machines.

The Northern Gornarod are the wildest of the various Gornarod groups.  They are the strongest adherents among the Gornarod to the way of E’lani and are the loyal allies of the Rapani.  In the early days of the Rapani movement, it was the Northern Gornarod who gave them shelter and support until they were strong enough to drive M'Maoulek's armies from the lands which became the Marches of E’lanirapa (G-d’s Fortress).  The Northern Gornarod regularly raid the L’npei of Pundri, and Kempelani, but rarely in connection with the Khia trade.  Therefore, while there is a great deal of mistrust between the Northern Gornarod and the L’npei, there is not the same degree of blood hatred as exists among the L’npei who are in contact with the Eastern Gornarod.



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

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