The Hirilaak Highlands refers to a mountainous region of northwestern Qeshir that is the ancestral homeland of the mandalar. In modern times, the Highlands are now sparsely populated and virtually unexplored by the outside world.
Once, long ago, the Kithdari Empire ruled much of western Qeshir. They dominated a slave race known as the mandalar. For unknown reasons, the Kithdari vanished before the Great War. The mandalar, left behind, fled into the Hirilaak Highlands. They dwelt there for many centuries until finally a mass migration of the mandalar tribes occurred two centuries ago and they returned to the lands of their former masters, the region now known as the Border Clans.
The name “Hirilaak” is as old as the stones of those mountains. It is what the mandalar themselves call it. In their language, “hiri” means “home” and “laak” means “old”, so it is properly translated as “Old Home”. Linguists believe this to be an unaltered Kithdari word. The word is pronounced by the mandalar as “here-ruh-LAY-ak” whilst the Anquarans and others often utter it as “HERE-ruh-lack”.
The Hirilaak Highlands consists of a mix of rugged mountains, sharp peaks, high altitude meadows and rolling hills. There are even a few volcanoes here amongst the mountains. The coastline is mostly high cliffs, sheltered coves and hidden shoals. It is notoriously difficult to find a good place to land a ship anywhere along this dangerous coastline. It has been the death of many ships who were battered upon the rocks by fierce storms. The moldering hulks of ancient shipwrecks can sometimes be found, hidden away, in deep and narrow inlets.
The Highlands Today
Only a few thousand of the mandalar continue to live in the Highlands (less than 5% of the total mandalar population). Although the mandalar tribes have many legends and oral histories about the region, the rest of the world considers it a vast and wild territory that is largely unexplored. Little is known of the fauna and flora to be found here.
This website was last updated September 16, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.