Far to the northeast of Fastheld, nestled among the peaks of the Halagh Mountain Range, the High Cities of the mountain people are home to many marvels of technology.
The Halaghi, short but stalwart, are keen in the ways of engineering. They’ve got plumbing, steam supply pipes, lighter-than-air dirigibles and other gadgetry that probably would be considered the work of the Shadow by their neighbors inside the Aegis.
These people dwell in a total of four mountain cities:
Halagh: The largest of the cities, contained primarily within a carved-out cavern inside the most massive peak in the mountain range. A great spindle spans from floor to ceiling in the cavern, with catwalks bearing off in all directions, providing access to various levels and serviceways. On particularly clear days, which are rare on this cloud-shrouded peak, it is sometimes possible to make out the great walled city-state in the distance.
Um-Halagh: Located on a lower peak about 16 miles east of Halagh, the city of Um-Halagh takes up another cavern – not quite as large as Halagh, but still quite spacious and defensible. The lower altitude means a slightly warmer climate: It’s only deathly cold most of the time, instead of constantly.
Nu-Halagh: About 20 miles east of Um-Halagh, this Halaghi community has grown within the bowl of a dormant volcano’s caldera, some 10,000 feet above sea level.
Lo-Halagh: The lowest of the High Cities of Halagh, about 30 miles east of Nu-Halagh, the community of Lo-Halagh is a tiered city atop the smallest peak in the extensive range of Halagh Mountains.
The Halaghi are a tight-knit people who have managed to develop some technological marvels in the peaks of Halagh: Steam turbines, refined gas for powering of lanterns, manufacturing, and dirigibles for transportation between the summit communities.
They care for their elders, their young, and everyone in between: If someone needs medical care, they get it. If they need work, work is found for them. If they need clothes, they're clothed.
They are governed by a panel of Halaghi known as buroks-in-answering, whose members are up for election every six months to ensure that a diversity of leadership is achieved with a minimum of opportunities for corruption or imbedded politics.
Their economy is based on barter, not currency: One Halaghi may provide a product or service in exchange for another product or service. The Halaghi often find themselves categorized in two roles:
Factures: Laborers, both general and specialized, who work in the mines, build machines and keep the steam rolling through the pipes.
Buroks: Healers and social workers who help with medical care and employment.