Although the Altrerians lend their name to the land in which The Water Road takes place, it’s not theirs alone. The land to the south of the Water Road is quite different from that to the north and includes a very different species of inhabitants.
For starters, the Neldathi don’t have green skin, but blue, although some have complexions that near completely white. They’re still humanoid, but where the Altrerians are smaller than your average human, the Neldathi are bigger. For a sense of scale, Rob Gronkowski would on the small side of average for a Neldathi. Thus they’re strong, but also slower of foot and, to the Altrerians, slower of thought, as well. More on them as a people next week.
The lands south of the Water Road are defined by a series of rugged mountain ranges, all named by and after Altrerians, although very few of them live there. The mountains begin to rise just south of the river, becoming fearsome snow-capped peaks in short order. The ranges often run up against one another, sometimes parallel to each other. Some of the mountains are covered with great stands of timber. It’s forbidding territory, a place that’s referred to in curses and hushed tones by Altrerians.
Because the continent of Altreria is in the southern hemisphere, the further south one goes the colder it gets. The lands south of the Water Road, therefore, are frequently blanketed in snow, making existence there difficult. Neither the climate nor terrain lends itself to the kind of settlements that developed to the north. Unlike the north, there are no great cities in the south.
Which is not to say there are no cities at all. When the land nears the coast, warm currents provide a more hospitable climate. In four locations along the southern coast, the Slaisal Islanders have built cities, way stations for use during their trade with the Neldathi. The Islander cities are the one place where the Neldathi clans share space, along with a small population of Islander sailors and the occasional Altrerian, mostly traders and the like – or at least they appear to be.