Xantari's Night Below
Patchwork Hills and Terraces
The Patchwork hills are so called because their appearance in the fall is mottled and patchy, not unlike an irregular patchwork quilt. Heather and bracken coat the hillsides, and the grazing is poor (bracken is virtually inedible). If the weather is good and the prevailing wind from the north in mid-fall, hillsmen bum away the vegetation here to protect the terraces from encroachment by the choking bracken.
The terraces were carved from the northern escarpment nearly a century ago. The terraces are cut in layers, each some 50 yards wide, with the next terrace lying some 20 to 40 feet below, accessed by steps cut into the rock. The soil here is surprisingly good, excellent for roots (carrots, turnips, potatoes) and green vegetables (mostly cabbages). Ownership of a terrace is handed down within families and is jealously prized.
To the southeast, the Patchwork hills merge into lightly wooded hills, eventually blending into the Thornwood. The terrain here is very rocky and wild and the plant growth is scrubby, stunted, and uneven. There are occasional sightings of big cats, notably mountain lions, within the wooded hills: the Pitcher and Pitchfork in Harlaton proudly displays the skin of an especially large male mountain lion over its hearth (rather maney and moth-eaten with age)