Jeralden

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High atop the northern mountains of Jeralden, lines of luminescent plants reach for the heavens and crisscross over the range; from a distance, the sight has been likened unto stars being trapped in the mountains. Neighboring countries Streeg, Bjotha, Njaldakk, and Kes Joshawk can even see the "glowing mountains" of Jeralden from their borders, especially on clear nights. Few have seen the mountains up close; the people of Jeralden guard them fiercely, forbidding anyone from going up onto the mountains unless tending to customary funerary rites or meditating on the nature of death. The Jeralans bring their dead to the mountains; the frigid arctic heights preserve the corpses, which is said to allow the spirit time to leave the body on its own terms and traverse the star-lit mountains as it contemplates its death. In the case of individuals who died unexpectedly or unjustly, they are often brought to the mountain with something glowing clasped in their hands so that other spirits may find them and guide them.

The Jeralans are rather spiritual and place a great deal of emphasis on their traditions. Though their government may resemble a typical imperial nation's with a central government that reports to the Alamo Empire and a strong military presence, the people still maintain their old ways and heritage. Their bodies are marked with tattoos and paint that denotes their bloodline's heritage, noteworthy accomplishments in life, and, most importantly of all, the number of treks they've made to the mountains. In Jeralden, they believe one can only appreciate life by coming to terms with death -- to this end, "mountain roads" are long, usually solitary treks that Jeralans take when they feel lost or like life has lost its meaning. Among the lights of the mountains and the presence of death, one can find peace and purpose and rediscover what it means to be truly alive.