The Drugaudan Steppes are believed to have once contained a large lake teeming with life, fed by Skarvali rivers, and separated from the sea by a thick sandbar. At some point, however, volcanic vents began to appear and spew ash and flame to the skies, and lake was dried and covered.
It is unclear how the civil timeframe relates to the geologic one, but the Tieflin of Drugaud have lived there as long as they remember and once referred to their lands as the Limitations of some Western Informational Hub. The meaning of this has been lost to the ages, but scholars suspect that at some point the land was used as a hideout for the spies of some kingdom to the east, to look in on Faedas to the west. The name has since fallen out of use with the Glazfell Hegemony's peaceful absorption of the Hub's Government into their own structure.
The rocky cliffs and bluffs of the Drugaudian Steppes are a veritable maze of barren rocks and yawning chasms lining most of the Western borders of the region. The location is barren and desolate. A feature the residents of the GLWIH chose for just such a purpose, the terrain itself deterring the prying eyes of strangers. If one were to seek the Thorpe and villages of the GLWIH, they would likely wander the White Wastes for days before dying a slow cold death from hypothermia. Many believe the Residents make their homes in the great mountain which locals call Emohesab. But no one has ever found concrete proof to support the claim.
Notable terrain features include the Lonely Mountain. Rising from the stark wastelands, this great mountain, called Emohesab, houses the city of Shezhan beneath. It is one of the tallest mountains on the western coast of Pacifica, like a dark twin to Holy Yphinnerra. The top of the mountain is usually cloaked in clouds, but the whistling ash-winds of Drugaud can be heard screaming across the peak.
The Tieflin are a lesser-known species, probably by art rather than by coincidence. Like the Iztli and Frosten they are a form of Berapi, but their aspect is light rather than heat: More specifically, the Tieflin embody darkness in humanoid form. Their flesh is dusky and translucent, like that of a scale-less fish, and they often have small horns, red eyes, or other unusual traits. Some of these might be a result of inbreeding or mutation, but others appear common enough that they might simply be natural.
They are by nature fairly good at sneaking around, especially when it's actually dark out, but on the other face of the coin they don't seem to like the sun very much. They might be the only race in existence that can actually manage to sunburn their internal organs without any gaping wounds involved if sufficiently careless.
CultureEditThe Tieflin race is best-known for its propensity with regard to shadowy corners, and they possess some instinct that grants them unusual levels of amusement and pride from successfully outwitting or outmaneuvering another. Their skill at doing so is even such that actually being recognized for one's own accomplishments is a difficult thing and definitely prone to head-swelling, since it means that the ego in question has managed to out-trick the tricksters that inevitably try to take credit from them. Shezhan's research sector is infamous for this, with researchers regularly attempting to downplay their partners' roles in new discoveries and developments. Even scholarship is like this to some degree, though luckily the Tieflin who choose to teach tend to be the relatively responsible ones more interested in doing their actual job than deceiving students for their amusement.
Marriage is practiced in Shezhan mainly among the nobility for reasons of official lineage. Commoners generally do not bother, since "free love" is basically just a fact of life among the Tieflin, married or no. Promiscuity, homosexuality, and polyamory are all fairly common behind closed doors among both sexes and carry little to no stigma. All family lines are matrilineal, since the identity of a child's mother is the only thing that can be taken for granted. Despite the relatively free sexual politics of Drugaud, however, it is considered relatively rude across all social classes to speak on the subject in a public place or to attempt to blackmail someone using information on their sexuality.
The Tieflin are notoriously self-superior, generally looking down on other cultures (though not often to their faces), though most of them begrudgingly accept the Frosten as more or less the same race.
Drugaudan Iron and Coal can be easily found, usually buried no more than a few hundred feet down. There could plausibly be more mineral wealth buried in the deeps, but the Tieflin are not dwarves and only mine for the resources they need rather than for the sake of mining. However, their culture seems to have a lust for knowledge and information in the same way that the Dwarves tend to love their precious metals, and many of them take the role of scholars or philosophers.
Where the Tieflin do not hunger for wealth, though, they hunger for food. While the soil of Drugaud is actually very fertile and could bear crops in theory, the volcanic ash clouds that more often than not blot out the skies are sure to ruin any attempt at actually growing them, and that's if they survive the constant ashfall.
The Tieflin worship their own secretive gods. Perhaps the Lords of Night and Knowledge? They're not precisely the most open of societies. They could probably sacrifice people and no one would notice. Still, some cultural bleed has taken place due to the overwhelming strength of the Doctrine of Frost in the rest of the Glazfelli lands, and a minority of Doctrinists have established themselves.