To the north-east of the Tuel Heartlands on the coast of the Great Wyrm Sea, between plains of scattered nomad tribes, creature ridden woods and the mighty Tanglemire Forest that separates the Cilhadrai Territories from the world, lie the Northern Free States. Isolated and self sufficient, this collection of rural townships struggles by year after year but have built up communities that have lasted against all the odds. The Free Men and Women are a hardy, tolerant folk who like nothing more than to be left to their own devices, which in the main are hunting and fishing, farming their small holdings and praying for small mercies from the gods. The lands are cold, hilly and blasted by bitter northern winds which sweep in from the Dragonspine Mountains across the water but they do provide enough pasture and woodland to support a growing populous and the climate in the warmer months is surprisingly pleasant. Because the harshness of the enviroment, people have been forced to band together and those bonds have become very strong indeed. Families, clans and religion govern most people's lives and set out the duties and responsibilities of all that dwell here. Many are the warlords who have tried to impose their will on the people for personal glory and a place in history only to have found their schemes unstuck, or to have become suddenly deserted on the battlefield due to a misreading of their follower's temperament. During the Reign of Tears many refugees from the Tuel Heartlands formed caravan trains and made their way north on an epic trek led by the rebel lord Barradine. These settlers have bolstered the Free States with new skills and prosperity which has led to the building of many new structures using carved stone blocks instead of the traditional wood and dry stone Cilhadrai technique and also the creation of many new businesses and trade guilds. This has led to some conflict with the established order but many are working to bridge the gaps and integrate these newcomers and so strengthen the States even further.