The barrier islands are a semi-volcanic string of islands off the eastern coast of the continent. Most good people know little about these islands, except that they are home to the dragon-worshipping pirates known as "reavers." Reaver longships are a terrible sight anywhere along the eastern coast, and tattoos are very nearly outlawed simply because of their prevalence among reavers.
The eastern coast of this continent is the only part that is truly accessible to the rest of the world. For a third of the year, most of the coast is plagued with ice floes. The rainy season that begins in mid-spring extends through several months, and dumps huge amounts of snow and rain along the coast and into the steppes and bloodwoods to the west. In the mild summer weather, coastal inhabitants can reap the bounties of land and sea alike.
Perhaps more importantly, in recent years the city of Oris has grown into a port and trade city of great size and wealth. Oris is now the gateway between the North and the rest of the world of Talnera.
Also known as the Wild Forest or the Bloodwoods, Lerin Sangua occupies the temperate zone between the Sanguine River and low cliffs of the continent's southern border. The enigmatic dral live almost exclusively within this forest, along with a few tribes of human barbarians who worship the dral as gods.
The White Steppes are a vast rolling plain, mostly frozen over with snowfall during the long winters but covered in lush grasses in the spring and summer months. The land is too harsh for civilization to take root here, and the native human population has been entirely displaced by the twisted centaurs created nearly a hundred years ago by The Serpent.
The eastern bound of the steppes are the coastal territories, while the southern and western edges are either Heartlands territory or the wild forests of Lerin Sangua.
Also known as the Lakelands, Iso is a powerful principality ruled by the Bogarov dynasty and its vassal families. It is a densely populated land full of politics and techno-magical wonder, but its leadership lacks the ability to project its might beyond the mists of its hot lakes.
Nothing but harsh tundra exists north and west of Iso's boundaries. To the south and east spread the savage expanse of the White Steppes, although in recent years the southern portion of the Steppes has become increasingly settled and held by human populations from Iso and the Heartlands.
The so-called Heartlands comprise a strip of resource-rich territory in the midwestern part of the continent. They are bordered to the west by the Kaddegh River valley, to the south and east by the Sanguine River and the wild forests beyond, and to the north and east by the nearly civilized edge of the White Steppes.
The hot lakes of Iso are also not far to the northeast, and many would argue that the settled portions of the steppes between the so-called Lakelands and Heartlands principalities be considered part of those two areas.
The Kaddegh River Valley was the birthplace of the now-defuct Empire. The reason for its fertility is the rich sediment left behind after the summer glacial melt. The northern part of the valley is mostly frozen wasteland, but in the south the weather is warm enough to support civilization.
The valley is bounded to the west by the great mountain range known as Earthspine, to the east by the rich Heartlands, and to the south by a great cliff and a waterfall known as Gods' Tears.
The Earthspine Mountains mark the western end of the continent. They range from glacier-strewn peaks in the north to weathered spires and islands in the south. Their western foothills are marked by storm-wracked costal cliffs and ridges, while their eastern foothills are either claimed by frozen desert or the western edges of the Kaddegh River Valley.
Those foothills are home to a great many vriak, and giants remain a threat anywhere the Earthspine casts its long shadows. The fabled kith city of Anzamar is rumored to lie somewhere beneath the Earthspine mountains, but few living souls have claimed to have even seen the place.
Although it is only a fraction of the size of Oris, the meeri city of Cthan'adu is much like a smaller version of that successful city. The most notable thing about Cthan'adu is that a significant portion of the city actually lies completely underwater.
Cthan'adu is farther north than Oris, and does not enjoy the benefits of sitting at the mouth of the Sanguine River. Nevertheless it is known by meeri all around the world as the "Pearl of the North." It is best known by non-meeri as a source of the finest quality bone craftsmanship in the world and a major supplier of animal-based oils and perfumes.
Evenor is a small community built amidst the ruins of an old Imperial outpost. It has a small but growing timber industry, access to the Sanguine River via tributary flow, and a recently discovered supply of delicious mushrooms known as truffles.
Evenor acts as the county seat for Vanya Tessaril, who keeps a modest estate here. The population of this town has recently exploded from around 300 to nearly a thousand, nearly all of them human. Migrants from Stonebridge who did not want to be a part of the mixed-race militant Order of the Dragonsaint arrived in droves when spring broke, and have been building new homes and other buildings since their arrival.
Glovan is a large city, and acts as the seat of the "Heartlands" principality ruled by Prince Aleksi Vesper.
Kaddegh was once the greatest of cities in the old Empire. Now it stands as the last bastion of civilization in its entire river valley. The other imperial cities have all fallen to famine, war, or simple barbarism.
Kaddegh remains a large city, but it is a dangerous place for the unwary. It is ruled by gangs, harried by raiders, and is only barely able to defend the fertile farmlands that feed its residents.
Lokkeld is the primary city of the Iso princpality, and the second-largest city in all of the North. Heated and made fertile by the largest of the hot lakes of Iso, Lokkeld is home to more than thirty thousand humans. Like the rest of the Lakelands, Lokkeld has a negligible non-human population.
Lokkeld is famous for its steam-driven amenities, all of which are powered by the same geothermal activity that makes the territory inhabitable. It is home to a wide array of technical, magical, and military universities, and its power in all three of those areas remains unmatched anywhere else in the North.
Oris is the largest city in all of the North, by now having more than doubled the size of the runner-up Lokkeld. Oris lies at the mouth of the Sanguine River, a trade artery that has yet to be fully exploited and one that will certainly guide the future of the northern continent when it is.
The population of Oris is mostly human and meeri, but recently it has seen a great deal of transient genasi from beyond the continent's borders, and nearby dral populations have sent many of their kind to the city to learn about the world outside their forest.
Stonebridge is a military and mining town with more buildings than occupants. It straddles the Malhuron River, a major tributary of the Sanguine River. After being rescued by the Order, the town charter passed to that organization. Nearly half of the town's inhabitants emigrated to Evenor the following spring; the population now is less than eight hundred souls, more then half of whom are non-humans.
Stonebridge supports a small mine of a rare ore known as living copper, some largely abandoned farmland, and a few interesting industries marked by cooperation between various non-human races. Baron Glass rules Stonebridge nominally, though he leaves most civil issues to the priestess Jen and the watch captain Red Bear.
The clan home of an Order trooper named Fash, Xynvarria's Anvil was sacked by a force of centaur, genasi, troglodytes, and aboniations in service of the Serpent. A rift to the Elemental Chaos was opened in its lowest level, and with that rift the Serpent was trying to gain some semblance of control over the raw elemental forces beyond.
Lann and the Order troopers were able to close and bury the portal, but they are not certain how much information was gleaned by Musaad or other servants of the Serpent prior to their involvement. Fash's clan has evacuated their ancestral home to rebuild their numbers in Stonebridge.