Westridge receives some overland trade from Trimeris and Meridiez, and they are famed for their winemaking. Copper and sapphire mines remain active here as well.
Their harsher climate and ever present problem of bandits in the passes (which are treacherous without adding predators) have tended to make some of the Westridge populace more insular and disinclined to travel.
Castles nestled in the ridge are the most well-protected in Edolon. It’s said that the seat of the overlord is impenetrable. But for every castle kept maintained and in service, there are the ruins of two others falling into lonely disrepair, their former holders either dead or gone to seek their fortunes elsewhere. The largest city in Westridge is Highclere Cross, on the border with Trimeris, and it is controlled by Lord Harrowmont. The secondary seat of the overlord is farther north, in a small mountain holding called Godsgrace- this is a fortress that legend holds to be impregnable, and to which people of the 'Ridge have fled in times of crisis and attack.
In ancient pagan days, the mountain people worshiped a beast god of the sky. In times of need, young girls and boys were selected as sacrifices to invoke the sky god’s favor, a position of great honor. They were taken high into the mountains, dressed in rich clothing, then made to drink a strong wine until they could not feel the cold and slowly fell asleep. They were left in their tombs, never to wake, while their spirits carried their people’s prayers to the god of the sky. This is of course entirely ancient and antiquated and never, ever happens anymore...
“Skysleep” is seen as a noble and painless way to end one’s life and begin an eternity of happiness with the blessing of the gods. It is most often the old, the sick or the desperate who take this course of action, though it is not uncommon for newborn children to be given to skysleep when their families cannot or will not care for them.
A special medicinal leaf grown in Westridge has been used historically to combat altitude sickness and treat a variety of other ailments, although it has only recently been exported to other areas of Edolon- these are often called Snowleaves, or just 'snow' as they are often used to relieve pain and numb burns or injuries. They're often steeped in wine (snow wine being a popular term for it) and the resulting concoction is famous for invigoration of the senses and bestowing a euphoric outlook and renewing strength.
While others in the kingdom might be off-put by the mountain dwellers’ morbid fascination with death, everyone agrees that Westridge has the best ghost stories. They’re also quite famous for their tales of forgotten Altaean treasure and secret mountain cities.
Life in the river valleys below is much more relaxed, and valley dwellers view their mountaineer neighbors with a healthy degree of wariness. The mountain folk are known for being taciturn but generally well-mannered, although in recent years with most of the armies across the channel, bandits have been growing bolder and even venturing down into valley villages. Valley dwellers are mostly farmers or herders, but due to the favorable soil and the mineral-rich water of the rivers, grapes grow especially well and winemaking is a keystone of the valley economy.
- Ruling House: Harrowmont.
- Key Cities: Highclere Cross (29,677)
- Notable Towns: Redwater (16,774), Moonspire (4,584), Coldchapel (3918), Blackburn (2350), Mirrormount (1810), Shatterstone (1720)
- Important Noble Houses: Carolin of Moonspire, Mirrormount, Wyatt of Shatterstone
- Minor Noble Houses: Rosette of Rosecrest, Spicer of Silvergate
- Important Organizations / Groups: …
- Area: 39,654.3 km2 (15310.6 mi2)
- Population: 842,083 (55 people per square mile) (60,833 urban= 7%). Non-urban population is scattered to villages of 1000 or less.
- Draft Pool: 67,000 (8% of pop.) [<7% ideal to keep area from starvation], slow to gather
- Professional Soldiers:(subtract from above) 900 men-at-arms, 265 archers
- Navy: N/A (no coastline, no ships)
Beyond the Cities
- 33 small towns (pop. 1000 or less) (Silvergate)
- 153 big villages (pop. 800 or less) (Rosecrest)
- 1215 medium villages (pop. 300 or less)
- 2614 small villages (pop 100 or less)