Togther with the Haft and parts of Elbana, the Dalelands represent the traditional heart of Keledoni culture, and of the oldest Druidic tradition. This connection is not lost on the people, or those who rule over them.
The Dalelands are found to the north of the Haft, and streches across the lands between the Reach of Culain and the Gulf of Sen. The southern regions of the Reach are rocky, running into hills and then the rocky slopes of the Blackfangs. Much of the land north of the hills is composed of rough terrain, and fertile valleys, with rocky crags and outcroppings dotting the area.The foothills and lower slopes of the mountains are covered by the Ravenswood, an old growth forest that is dense and dark in its deepest regions. The forest is not considered a holy sanctuary, as is the Whitestag, but is held in reverence and fear by the people of the Reach.
The great river known as the Ravenswater drains the Reach, collecting the waters of lesser rivers and streams on its way to the sea. It also provides transportation within the Reach apart from the roads.
Forests dot the landscape, especially in the south, but none approach the size of the Greatwood or the sanctity of the Whitestag. Its major settlements include the seat of House Ebethar, Abred, and the towns of Tirmaoc and Bracken Hall, where Houses Tiran and Rithyr hold sway.
Three fairly prominent stone circles are found within the Reach. The first, the Daghenge, is found fairly close to House Ebethar's seat in Abred. The stone cirlce is thirty feet across, with stones placed every six feet or so along the circumference. The Ashwater, a small river that joins the Ravenswater, arises nearby. Secondly, in Ashdell, a stone circle is laid out according to the rising and setting of the sun on Endless Day, and at the end of Longest Night. These stones are of black stone, worn smooth over the centuries. On the nearby hill a great figure of a stag has been carved, outlined in white and traditionally associated with the Gods. The third site, Flintring, is found in the northeast of the Reach, and also features a hill carving. This one is of a great bird; some call it a raven, others a hawk. It is associated with dreams, visions, and guiding insights.
The Reach of the Dalelands, like all the reaches of Keledon, owes its allegiance to the Crown. However, in the name of the Throne, the Reach is ruled by House Ebethar, the head of which, the Marquis of Abred, maintains law, order and security within the land. Bracken Hall and Tirmaoc serve as additional centers of power of Major Houses.
There is a small population of wilder, uncivilized people living deeper within the Ravenswood. While their existence is not a secret, Ebethar has not done much about them, for whatever reason.
The laws of the kingdom hold sway throughout the Reach. However, under the rule of Ebethar, all able-bodied adult males are required to learn rudimentary fightng skills. Harsher penalties, like amputations, are more common here, and in many areas 'country justice' often prevails.
The Ravenswater is used by the Ebethars as a quick means of moving troops and goods throughout the Reach, able to move from Bracken Hall to Underhall completely afloat. The people of the Reach tend to have a greater sense of loyalty to Abethred than they do to the idea of Keledon as a whole; they note loudly and proudly that they pay their taxes to men in raven livery, not that of the Hawk.
Druids offer their usual services throughout the Reach, but here justice and law is often dispensed by local lords as well. Knights in Abethred are expected to be bannermen to Houses; if not, they are required to conform to the laws that govern commoners. The military history of the ruling House is an inspiration for this.
Edrick Ebethar, Marquis of Abred, is currently the ruler of the entire Reach in the Queen's name.
The people of the Dalelands tend to alternate between a rough and dour demeanor and a fun-loving, celebratory one. While the weather is pleasant enough, other than the Keledoni rains, working the rough but fertile land of the Reach's valleys is hard and backbreaking labour. It's produced a people willing to work their fingers to the bone, but equally willing to throw massive celebrations on holy and sacred days.
Dark hair and eyes predominate in the region, no less among the Ebethars. Music, especially played on harps and lutes, is a constant feature of Dalelands culture.
Closer to the Haft the people tend to get more dour and tight-lipped, having very little trust in outsiders and none in foreigners. Deep superstitions concerning Longest Night are common here, as are images of fear, fright and death associated with the harvest. In ancient days it is thought that human sacrifices occured in parts of the Reach. While such things are long past, the people of the Dalelands remain very close to the spirits of the land and water, and consider them closely in their daily lives.