Gatlia lies in the northwest corner of the Cirsovan Empire, bounded by the Ice Sheet to the north and the Dusksea on the west. Unlike Ungoza, where the lost northern civilization is manifest only in ruins and legends of the Marshfolk, Gatlia has within its borders a living antiquity in the city of Polaris, the last known city of an otherwise vanished kingdom.
Gatlia is home to the northernmost cities in the Cirsovan Empire; even her southernmost cities lie along higher latitudes than Cratera in Ungoza. Most of the population of Gatlia is found in southern Gatlia, which was settled some two and a half centuries ago, in the valley of the AmbellaRiver. Southern Gatlia is shielded from the harsh northern climates by the Gatlian mountain range, warmed by gentle breezes blowing in from the Dusksea, and nourished by the Ambella. The several small quarrying towns, farming villages, baronies and larger cities of southern Gatlia are connected by a portion of the Long Road often referred to as the Gatlian Highway.
Crystals from the crater region of Ungoza are just one of the many rare commodities traded along the highway. The Gatlian Highway also sees plenty of stone and livestock being moved to market. These goods make their way to the port of Syflanis and are shipped north to the port of Delivals. From Delivals, goods are sent by land north to Norigon, where caravans are met by those hardy enough to brave the Highway of Ice to Polaris, the DreamingCity, the northernmost city in world not yet abandoned in the face of the slowly encroaching ice sheet. Strange and beautiful wonders of art and artifice are created by those living in that far off city and are shipped south back along the highways and by sea, eventually making their way back to Pelliora, from which they disperse throughout the rest of the lands.
As with all lucrative trade routes in the world, the Gatlian highway is sometimes fraught with the perils of highwaymen and banditry. Traditionally, quelling banditry had been the roll of either the Baron of Nortune or of Sotune, depending on which side of the AmbellaRiver the bandits were harassing. Typically, the banditry runs in five year cycles, as well, perhaps because of the fluctuating trade volume from the east.
Gatlia is also subject to an unlikely experiment in governance. The province is nominally ruled by a Duke, who answers directly to the Emperor in Gatia, but most matters of state are determined by a council of representatives sent from cities within the province, acting on behalf of the lesser noble families, in the case of the Lordly Representatives, and acting on behalf of local merchants, farmers, workers, etc. in the form of Popular Representatives. How these representatives are selected varies from town to town, either by appointment, election or hereditary. The council’s primary concern is the smooth traffic of goods through the province and allocating provincial resources to those ends. The council meets regularly in the port city of Syflanis, which serves as the provincial seat.