How can we look for weird tentacled things living unimaginable lives under indescribable skies if we're still mostly stuck on Earth? I believe that the best place to find life on Mars will be underground, not the cold, radiation-blasted deserts of the surface. So I look to a model system on our planet: caves. The Martian subsurface might have water, or it might have ecosystems as weird as the poisonous, sulfuric acid-soaked Cueva de Villa Luz in the Mexican state of Tabasco. For six years, I've studied the chemistry and strange denizens of Villa Luz. But working there can be hazardous - even life-threatening.
Sær Illel is a strategic area of the Scéäduwë, but not because it is a port. (There is little need for a deepwater port in a land of extraordinarily limited sea trade. The only nearby deepwater port near Sær Illel is a ruined city ten miles to the south at the mouth of a river.)
The Blood Pass is strewn with the bones of fallen undead, many blackened from fire. The smaller keeps between the Citadel of the First Hope and the Citadel of the Last Hope, as well as the Citadel of the First Hope, stockpile large amounts of naptha to cremate the fallen to prevent their untimely rise from the dead.
There should be a peat bog somewhere near Hopeful, perhaps in an moor formed by the Lake Glory impact crater. Some very wealthy Ytene lord (who?) has rights to it. At the moment, this lord is fairly loyal to the Republic because the vast growth of Hopeful has a result of the mass relocation program instituted by the Republic has made him wealthy beyond imagination. The bog (and the manor) would have to be within 50 miles of Hopeful, since this lord is permitted to retain a residence and peasantry there. (Would these peasants demand the same freedoms as the emancipated serfs near Hopeful?)
The lack of harvestable timber near Hopeful (since the Stonewood is officially off-limits) keeps demand for peat fuel high.
The Stonewood, about 30-40 miles south of Hopeful was always a scary place. Seemingly, cutting half of it down to build Hopeful during the forced migration has condensed the darkness. Only the stubborn continue to live nearby, and only the foolhardy venture within. Certain of the Corr druids held part of the Stonewood sacred, although dark.
The Stonewood is so called because of the large numbers of boulders and standing stones found within its confines. The Stonefield is the eastern portion of the original Stonewood. The boulders and rocks remain, but the trees have been harvested to build up Hopeful as the refugees poured into Hopeful in front of the advance of the Nelmachhian army.