The Sand Hills
A common complaint from those who sit on Mount To-Pon overlooking the incredible hillside town of Ponack is why is it so cold?
But although the region, The Sand Hills, is aptly named, this is one of the most northerly countries of Orl-Earde, Bind.
A large region, one hundred and twenty leagues west to east and seventy leagues north to south, this is the area of Dirt most often associated with the magnificent Draig yr Anailr, the desert dragon.
Although lacking in rainfall for much of the year, the region is watered by the great River Cor-En to the south and the various tributaries that flow into it from the hills. A smaller river to the north of the To-Pon range, the River Draig-An or River of the Dragons , services the small villages and farming communities in that area.
It is a region of mixed resources. It is not a good region for crops, though hardier crops like brassicas are cultivated, but cattle. oothen and goats are raised on the grasslands along the river banks. Tin and iron are found in the western hills in small quantities. Small fishing communities have grown up on the shores of the Missing Sea and salt is also produced there. The two main trading goods have been tanned Oothen hides and salt.
The town of Ponack has a long history, though it has collapsed and been rebuilt several times over thousands of years under different names.
Originally built as a Haften out post in the very early days of the empire, it was abandoned as it became clear that the Eastern Plains could not be subdued and it's strategic position was replaced by a series of temporary forts along the ridge of hills that define the western border of the plains.
The town was home to various peoples over the millennia, but it was only with the alliance between some of the northern desert peoples and the Draig yr Anialr that the town grew to prominence.
The Draig yr Anailr have been a feature of the Eastern Plains for many thousands of years and had always maintained several small villages in the hills of the north. As the Keffra grew in strength, they offered protection to the Pharsil-Hin, the nomads of the plains, in exchange for leather and goat meat. As others arrived in the area, so the town of Ponack grew and a more formal, mutually beneficial alliance was formed.
Although the Desert Dragons had for a long time taken riders as a dragon-human pairing, it was only in later times that this was organised into a military group led by a "Dragon Leader" who could be either dragon or human.