The Last Empire
Aleweed Valley is the smaller northern sister of New Kels Valley.
The River Ale runs through its broad meadows making it ideal for the cultivation of wheat and rice. Ancient terraced fields and a system of irrigation built by a civilization lost in time cover the steep slopes. The humans of New Kels have only opened a tiny fraction of the valley’s potential yet it easily fulfills their needs.
The towns of Bitter, Hollowhall and Trade close to the River Ale, built on sturdy granite stepped structures raising them above the spring floods, hold most of the political power in Aleweed. They each have a Thain (combination magistrate and surrogate duke) and a Council (set of local sheriffs and guild leaders who act as the Thain’s advisors). They claim jurisdiction over the frontier towns but can rarely enforce it. The towns each have specialty ales, hard liquor, sausages, cheeses and other preserved goods that the Dwarven Clans relish. When the spring floods recede river pilots compete to carry the goods down the River Ale to market in Harsell. In Harsell the boats are fitted with wheels and an ox yoke and filled with finished items for return to Aleweed.
Fiercely independent frontier towns in the north and farther up the terraces often don’t see any outsiders for years. Most of these towns make trade items outside the guild. Moonshine, mined gold and silver, armor and tools forged by fugitive guildsmen, are traded in the hills and sometimes reach black markets in New Kels.
The narrow and treacherous Aleweed Pass is only open from mid summer when the Ale River receded to the first snowfall in early fall.
Being part of New Kels Duke Harsell IV vonKels diLucene is the authority in Aleweed Valley. They send two representatives to Parliament but their input is trivial due to the heavy influence the Brewers and Spiriters Guild has with them paired with the simple fact that by the time Parliament meets the Aleweed Pass has been closed for nearly a year.