The Sylvan mountains are the barrier separating the Outer Midlands from the Flatlands.
Real world equivalent: Rocky mountains
Tall and rugged mountains. Winters come early here, stay late and can be very bitter.
The mountains are tall and rugged and represent a serious barrier to any movement north or south. There are no know large passes through the mountains but there are a handful of paths that wind up and over the range. They are not for the faint of heart as they require considerable skills to use.
Flora & Fauna: Cold winters, wet springs and falls make for a tough environment but life thrives here.
Trees: The most prevalent tree are evergreens of all types.
Bears: The Sylvan mountains do hold several varieties of bear not found anywhere else in the Flatlands or the Outer Midlands. Black bears and brown bears are found in numbers. But the largest is the Dread Bear - these grizzly bears are rightly feared and in ancient times were worshiped. Many of the mountain people still consider them sacred messengers and great nature spirits.
Big Horn sheep:
Condor: A large, ungainly looking bird with a huge wingspan that makes the rocky crags of the Sylvan mountains its home. The condor is a uniform black, with the exception, especially in the male, of large triangular patches or bands of white on the underside of the wings. It has gray legs and feet, an ivory-colored bill, a frill of black feathers nearly surrounding the base of the neck, and brownish red eyes. The massive birds are rare, the breed in later centuries will be declared a protected species.
Gryphons: The mountains are home to a small population of gryphons. These fierce predators shy from humans who have hunted them for centuries.
Wolverine: These creatures are very rare and are legendary for ferocity and being very tough. Mountain folk consider just surviving an encounter with one as the mark of a powerful warrior.
Small mammals: Rabbits, mice, squirrels, woodchucks all thrive here in great numbers.
People: These mountains do have a small population of humans living there. Very robust and insular they have a dislike of outsiders (usually anyone not of their family or clan). How long they have been in the mountains is unknown but they claim to have been here BEFORE the elves arrived. That is considered a myth but they certainly were here before the Suielman and probably before the Cenetli. They live in small family groups and are organized into a surprisingly complex network of clans, tribes and families. Nominally under the control of the Duke of salinon they are mostly left alone by their neighbors. Never truly conquered but the Suielman empire tried several times as have past Dukes of Salinon and Marigund. All failed due to the ruggedness of the terrain and the ferocity of the people. Those past invasions have broken the mountain folk of their past habit of raiding/pillaging the low-landers. Now they usually keep to themselves but a low level of contact and trade does occur. Their use of the battleaxe has led to its wide spread use by marigund.
Myths & Legends:
Balchantu: This is a legend of the mountain folk. The name translates (very) roughly to mean 'Huge, monster bear'. That describes it well. It is a massive bear said to stand over 30 feet tall on its hind legs. Able to smash and tear down the thickest of stonewalls easily and with claws of iron. Legends speak of it single handedly destroying whole armies. The Marigund Mages Guild has studied the legend but cannot confirm or deny the creatures existence. But they do recommend that all visitors follow the local custom of leaving out an offering of meat for Balchantu - just in case. Or as a Guild Mage put it 'Never anger something the size of a two story building.'
Woldantu: Another legendary creature; this time a wolf the size of a grizzly bear. Legendary for his iron teeth and skin that no weapon can pierce. Considered the patron spirit of families (as wolves are a pack animal). Stories tell of the creature leading lost families to safety. Others tell of him hunting down and killing people who hunt wolves. Oddly no offerings of meat are left to appease him; the idea being if he wants something he'll take it! An animal lost to wolves is often said to have been 'Claimed by Woldantu'. Tales say that he sired the first Doron Wolves and still watches over them.
Malutina: A legendary creature. Said to be a cougar the size of a horse! Where as Balchantu & Woldantu are legendary for the ferocity in combat she is know for her agility and ability to trick and out think her enemies. Fierce in defense of family and children. Stories tell of her protecting lost children. Her name means Daughter cougar which has prompted some whits to ask "If she is the daughter I'd hate to meet her mother and father!"
Balchantu, Woldantu & Malutina are said to be related - Brothers & sister. Little mention is made of their parents. Serious study of them leads some to believe that if they do exist they might be true nature spirits. One odd clue is the references to iron (iron claws and teeth). One scholar thinks that its mention in that light might stem from an era when most weapons were still made of bronze! Iron being a new 'magical' metal. If so then the legends could be very old indeed (at least 5 - 6,000 years old).
Known Magical creatures: The mountain folk do have a small number of Werebears and werewolves among them. Both honored and feared for their ferocity in battle and for being (literally) closer to nature than the normal person.