Cratera

Cratera, sometimes referred to as New Cratera, is a large mining town established by imperial charter for the purpose of excavating the green crystals from the Ungoza crater.  So plentiful are the green crystals within the boundaries of the great crater, much of the mining is done above ground with carts and shovels by common folk who come to the city to make their life of honest labor here at the east reach of the Long Road.

Not long after the Cirsovan armies had subdued Ungoza, rumors of a fabulously large crater, filled with green glass, unlike anything ever seen in the south, prompted a rush to survey the region for potential mining sites.*  The southwest lip was determined to be the most favorable location, as it would be near plentiful timber and decent farmland, and the flat, dry plains allowed for a road to be quickly built to connect it to the Imperial province.  In fact, until the bypass to Agalla was built, Cratera was completely isolated from the rest of Ungoza (which is principally marshland).  Even so, the Agalla bypass is infrequently travelled, as most traders have little desire to travel into the Eastern Marshes, and native Ungozans see no reason to visit the thoroughly imperial Cratera.

Despite being thought of as a “NorthernCity” (it is the northern-most permanent settlement in Ungoza), Cratera is actually further south than any towns in the westerly-adjacent province of Gatlia.  Though cool-to-cold through most of the year, Cratera is shielded from the worst of the icy winds by the great forests to the west and the southern lip of the crater.  Those excavating the crystals, however, must wear heavy clothing during all but the summer months, as a chilly, clockwise wind perpetually circulates through the bowl of the crater.

Crystals, once harvested, are put on carts and sent westward along the Long Road to the fortified city of Davou, the first step on their long journey to Polaris.  The road from Cratera to Davou is generally considered to be the safest leg of the east-west portion of the trade route; as no one but the glassworkers and artisans of Polaris can work the green crystal, and Polaris has an exclusive contract with the Empire, there is little profit in harassing the raw crystal shipment on its way from Cratera.

*The temporary settlement now known as Old Cratera was founded during this period.  Despite implications of the name, Old Cratera may have been established around the same time, or even later than New Cratera.  Many settlers, explorers, prospectors and adventurers rushed to Ungoza to find their fortune when the Empire began authorizing writs of explorations to parcel off the newly acquired territory.  Old Cratera and the ruined tower called Elefloe lay directly Northeast of Cratera across the Ungoza crater.