The mining settlement of Ironstone sits in the Talons of the Sky just to the west of the city of Ironforge. It technically falls under the leadership of Ironforge and is only really inhabited about half the year, but is regarded as an almost autonomous settlement.
Ironstone began as a small mining camp in the mountains, inhabited only by miners and only when the mountains were free of snow. It was attached to a small mine that the camp's residents had begun, searching for iron and silver deposits. As the snow melted, the miners would make the trek up the mountainside, hauling carts full of mining supplies, food, and other necessities - enough to last them three cycles. As the carts were emptied at the camp, they slowly refilled with raw ore taken from the mines. After three cycles - halfway through the mining season - the procession would make its way back down to the city to sell this raw ore to metalworkers, then pick up more supplies before returning for another three cycles. Once the weather turned and the snow began to creep down the mountains once more, the miners would pack up the camp and head down to winter in the valley.
As the miners moved deeper underground and into the heart of the mountain, they began to find more and more precious metals and gems. With each trip they took into the city to sell their ore and resupply, more and more miners joined them to try their luck at striking gold - literally. Over time, the increasing population of the mining camp drove some to begin constructing more permanent buildings. First to be built was a lodging-house for the miners to sleep in, which was kept tidy and warm by a matron who charged a small amount per night for miners to stay. They were welcome to set up their tents outside for no cost, but many opted to use the more comfortable beds inside the lodging-house.
An infirmary was built next, followed by a tavern, a kitchen, and more lodging-houses. Each new building brought more folk into the camp, both miners and other workers. Eventually, someone built a store and began to regularly collect supplies from Ironforge to support the growing population. The new settlement was nicknamed Ironstone for its abundance of iron found within the mine.
Ironstone is mostly inhabited by miners. They arrive in the early spring, as soon as the snow begins to melt, and stay until the first snows begin to fall on the mountaintops. Many of these miners are dwarves, although other folk such as badgerfolk or Lupis who are well-suited to hard physical labor have found work here. Most miners are only here seasonally, although some of the more dedicated folk will overwinter in Ironstone and make some extra money in the mines. It is a risky decision, as the winter storms can be very dangerous, but a potentially very lucrative one.
Other folk work in the lodging-houses, infirmary, kitchens, and the store to support the work of the miners. They earn quite a good seasonal living from the miners, who pay them for supplies, food, and lodging. These folk, like the miners, mostly inhabit Ironstone in the warmer months, but some choose to overwinter on the mountain to earn more money from the miners who also choose to stay. However, since the roads back to Ironforge are snowed over in the winter, they must bring in a lot more supplies before the snows set in in order to survive the winter.
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