In the wake of the Great Calamity, as people once again began to explore a world that had been ravaged by dragons, Northlander mages came together to try to increase the fertility of the soil in the Northern Lands far beyond what could naturally be produced. Instead, they created a dangerous imbalance in the terrain, causing most of the plants in the land to wither away. The few that remained were not able to produce even half of what they once did. As a result of this misuse of magic, the highest ranks of Northlanders began banning the use of magic, exiling those who practiced it and instead researching ways to survive without it.
Instead of a new generation of mages having the opportunity to try to reverse the damage their predecessors caused, the land instead remains nearly barren, a stark reminder of the result of trying to gain more from nature than it is able to give.
As a result of the barren waste much of the Northern Lands has become and the fact that all mages are exiled to Novami, it is extremely rare for an outsider to attempt the river crossing. The Northlanders have done a very good job of not encouraging people to come to their lands, as they feel that resources are precious and even a few more people would tip their survival over the edge.