Gheron and Cradon
Both the name of the great mountains that tower over the landscape of Gradon(and most of the rest of the continent too), and the twin cities at their peaks, Gheron and Cradon are tall, proud dormant volcanoes, tearing into the sky and capped with large snowy peaks.The people who have learned to live in this climate have adapted to the vast reservoirs of thermal energy given off by the magma inside the peaks. They dig their homes into the side of the mountains, doors blending seamlessly with the rock facings around them. These societies dig fairly deep inside the mountain, using the heat from its core to melt snow into extremely pure water, and farming the rich volcanic soil for their crops. Made mostly of meandering paths cut into the side of the peaks and dotted with planters, houses, shops, and other small town necessities, the towns that make up the outskirts of the main outposts are surprisingly warm and free of snow, humans having cut a horizontal stripe out of the snow line by melting it for water and to get at the rich soil underneath.
The main metropolises of the peaks, the cities that take their names from the mighty mountains they are founded upon, are bustling centers of activity and trade. Connected by a huge sparkling bridge of solid ice formed by the cities’ ice mages, they are abundant with natural resources and ores, using the heat of the volcanoes to smelt and forge raw materials which are shipped all over the continent, and indeed even the world. The cities are large cluters of doors side by side and flat against the peaks, being formed first by digging down directly towards the heart of the mountain until a heat source can be reached.
Their society produces many kinds of people. Those who wish to live simply, being mostly self sufficient and occasionally trading for luxury goods generally move out of the main city proper and dig homes in the more sparsely populated outskirts, where they know all their neighbors and work the soil to make all their food. Those who seek adventure inevitably end up back in the big cities, or in the caravans of great shaggy behemoths that make their way daily from the twin cities to the ports, either Azelm on the eastern end of the continent or Portside on the west. There is also a thriving society of wizards, some home bred, and some simply drawn to the “Fresh clean air” of the peaks. Regardless of their individual reasons, the wizards of the peaks learn traditional magic, with a larger portion of their number becoming specialized in ice, water, or air due to the abundance of those elements in the vicinity. Wizards preform many tasks, fixing minor broken objects, maintaining the great bridge, sculpting the snow either artfully into ice sculptures that adorn the metropolises, or more functionally to clear paths for homes or shops.
All in all, the people of the mountains are a cheerful, contented bunch, able to pursue their interests without interference from predators, tyrants, or famine. Protected from external threats and internal, they live happy productive lives free from worry (not that this stops the more rural denizens from grumbling about how things were better in the old days).