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Qheleq-Qarag, the Land of Ice, is the largest single land mass on Aquela, and accounts for over half of the land area of the planet, yet its people account for only a tiny fraction of the population. Its native race is well-adapted to the harsh climate, being stocky and fair of skin and hair. They are shorter than the people of Ataqim, but weigh nearly as much as the Ataqim'ns. Their skin ranges from very pale to chalk white, their hair from blond to white; their eyes are blue or red.

The land of Qheleq-Qarag is very inhospitable. Ranging from very cold near the coast to frigid at the pole, the temperature is always harsh. Much of it is covered in an ice cap several times larger than I'l Island, and a range of forbidding mountains runs across the island. The rest is frozen tundra, where the only vegetation is lichens and mosses.

And yet the Northerners live there. The Northern Clans, mostly fishers, are a coherent political structure on the Prime Meridian side of the island, between the Ice Fang mountains and Seal Bay, and have advanced technologically to the point of mining iron and precious metals in the mountains and domesticating reindeer. The west of the island is inhabited by less advanced individual tribes of fishers and hunters called River People; even these have some permanent settlements. The tundra and less treacherous mountains in the east are ranging grounds for nomadic herdsmen with little social organization, the Mountain People.

Raqmarq, seat of the Northern Clans, is by far the largest settlement in Qheleq-Qarag, with a population well over 15,000. Other communities of the Northern Clans range from single-family dwellings to large towns of up to a few thousand people. The map at the end of this Book shows three such towns: S'qhi, a small mining town with a population of about 1250; Qitha, a large town of about 5000; and Aqhisqi, with a population of just over 3000. The River People have only small communities made up of a single large clan, while the families of the Mountain People generally remain independent of each other.

Two rivers run from the ice cap to the sea: the Qarina (with its mouth at Raqmarq) and the meandering Tula, source of life for the River People. Neither is navigable because of abundant masses of ice which have a tendency to smash boats.

The Northerners are not the only civilized race in the Land of Ice. Dwarves share the eastern mountains with the Mountain People, and even extend onto the ice cap to some degree. It is from this race that the Northern Clans learned the skill of mining, but relations between the races deteriorated from that point on, climaxing in the Dwarf Wars of 203-385am, which nearly obliterated the dwarven race. It is possible, though no one can say for certain, that some members of the primordial race of giants still live on the ice cap, completely isolated from human and dwarvish civilization.

Qheleq-Qarag experiences little seasonal variation in temperature, but an interesting feature with respect to daylight. In the spring and summer months (19 Eagle to 19 Mastodon) the sun never sets on the north pole, while autumn and winter are a long night. Farther south, near the edge of the continent, the variation is less extreme, but even Raqmarq does have a full day (19 Cave Bear) of light and one of darkness (19 Wolf). As far as temperature, Qheleq-Qarag, quite simply, is cold. In summer, temperature may rise to almost comfortable levels, perhaps 50° Fahrenheit or so. In winter, with even a slow wind, temperatures go as low as -20° as a matter of course.


Qheleq-Qarag supports little plant life. Only on the coasts and along the rivers do stunted pine trees grow, along with grasses and small shrubs; otherwise the only vegetation is mosses and lichens. There are no exceptional plant varieties among these.

Qheleq-Qarag, in contrast to Ataqim, holds few species of animal. The ice cap is virtually uninhabited. The tundra supports some herbivores, such as arctic hares, musk oxen, lemmings, and reindeer, the latter being very important to all the people of the north. Several kinds of large predators, such as foxes, wild dogs, wolves, wolverines, white dragons, ice toads, lynxes, and the much-feared remorhaz, compete with humans for the meat of these herbivores. Hawks, eagles, ducks, owls, puffins, and penguins are the most common birds.

The coastal waters are home to large crabs, seals, sea otters, walruses, large eels, squid, and lobsters, as well as the polar bears that feed on them. Whales and other marine mammals, such as killer whales, are also found, and are important game animals.